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Title: Betting & Gambling - A National Evil
Author: Various
Language: English
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A National Evil

Edited by


Author of ‘Poverty’

Macmillan and Co., Limited
New York: The Macmillan Company

All rights reserved



Until comparatively recent years, betting and gambling were largely
confined in this country to the wealthy few. Now, however, the practice
has spread so widely among all classes of the community that those who
know the facts name gambling and drinking as national evils of almost
equal magnitude.

There is no doubt that the social conscience is as yet only very
partially awakened to the widespread character of the gambling evil
and to its grievous consequences. Like a cancer, the evil thing has
spread its poisonous roots throughout the length and breadth of the
land, carrying with them, where they strike, misery, poverty, weakened
character, and crime.

Nor is the practice any longer spontaneous. It is encouraged and
organised by an army of social parasites in the shape of bookmakers and
their touts; these men or women (for the “profession” is not confined to
men) pursue their calling in every town of Britain—indeed, there are
probably but few villages or large workshops which are free from them.
In many places, indeed, they regularly call for “orders,” the itinerant
packman or agent combining this with his recognised business. Even little
children have been known to bet their slate pencils in the playgrounds
of our State schools, while women and girls in all ranks of society no
longer regard the practice as unwomanly.

And yet, in spite of the acknowledged magnitude of the evil, there are,
with a very few notable exceptions, no organised efforts to check it.
The apparent apathy of the nation to the extraordinary spread of this
mischief in its midst is in sharp contrast to the great efforts organised
to combat intemperance. For this there are probably three main causes:—

    1. Ignorance on the part of the general public as to the rapid
    growth and the mischief of the practice.

    2. Lack of clear thought regarding the ethics of the question.

    3. The difficulty of suggesting practical steps to counteract
    so insidious an evil.

The purpose of this book is to supply, in concise and readily accessible
form, information which may meet these needs. After a preliminary
chapter devoted to the ethics of Betting and Gambling, facts are stated
concerning the extent of the evil and its effects on national life. The
present position of legislation affecting betting is then dealt with, and
suggestions are made as to needed improvements in the law. A concluding
chapter considers remedial measures outside the sphere of legislation.
In the Appendix additional information is given, which, it is hoped, may
be useful, more particularly to speakers and writers, together with a
Bibliography of books and papers upon the subject. All the articles are
by writers who have given special attention to the topics with which they
deal. Three of them, viz. those by John A. Hobson, B. Seebohm Rowntree,
and “The Deluded Sportsman,” have appeared before. Two, though originally
written for this book, have appeared in periodicals which have a limited
circulation in this country, and the third has appeared in pamphlet form.

                                                     B. SEEBOHM ROWNTREE.

YORK, _April 1905_.



    THE ETHICS OF GAMBLING                                               1

        JOHN A. HOBSON, M.A.

    THE EXTENT OF GAMBLING                                              21

        JOHN HAWKE, Hon. Sec. National Anti-Gambling League.

    STOCK EXCHANGE GAMBLING                                             45

        A. J. WILSON, Editor _Investor’s Review_.

    GAMBLING AMONG WOMEN                                                69

        J. M. HOGGE, M.A.

    CRIME AND GAMBLING                                                  84


    THE DELUDED SPORTSMAN                                               92

        A BOOKMAKER.

    GAMBLING AND CITIZENSHIP                                           117

        J. RAMSAY MACDONALD, Sec. Labour Representation Committee.

    EXISTING LEGISLATION                                               135

        JOHN HAWKE.

    THE REPRESSION OF GAMBLING                                         170



        1. LORDS’ RECOMMENDATIONS, June 1902                           191

        2. LORD DAVEY’S STREET BETTING BILL, 1903                      199

        3. SUMMARY OF LORDS’ COMMISSION                                203

        4. OPINIONS OF EMINENT MEN ON BETTING                          213

        5. A NOTE ON PEDESTRIANISM                                     219

        6. TIPSTERS AND TIPSTERS’ ADVERTISEMENTS                       222

        7. BETTING STATISTICS                                          232

        8. BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                236

    INDEX                                                              245



Gambling is the determination of the ownership of property by appeal to
chance. By chance is here implied the resultant of a play of natural
forces that cannot be controlled or calculated by those who appeal to it.
In tossing “heads or tails” for the possession of a coin, neither party
has any knowledge or control of the adjustment of forces which determines
upon which side the coin will fall, or if by practice the tosser acquires
such knowledge or control, he cannot possibly predict or control the
“call” of his opponent, which thus keeps the determination of the issue
within the realm of “Chance.”

Gambling may be described as “pure” or “mixed” according as the
determining power of chance is or is not blended with other powers. Few
so-called games of chance are entirely destitute of skill, even if the
skill consists entirely of speed or accuracy in calculating “chances.”
Where such skill plays a large and a continuous part, the game ceases to
be classed as “gambling,” though chance may exercise a quite considerable
influence in determining the result. In betting on horse-races and in
commercial gambling superior knowledge of some of the determinant causes
may so qualify the chance that, from the standpoint of those who have
such knowledge, the operation ceases to be gambling. If such knowledge
is equally attainable by all those who “speculate,” the game becomes one
of skill; if it consists in genuine “tips” or private knowledge, the
operation is fraudulent. This last fact is generally recognised: all
gamesters denounce betting on “certainties.” Again, both on the turf
and the stock exchange chance may be reduced or even eliminated by an
actual manipulation of the forces so as to yield a result favourable to
the interests of some of those who pose as gamblers. But when the result
supposed to rest on chance is known or controlled by any sort of skill,
fraud, or force, the case is not one of pure gambling; for though it
is a matter of significance that gambling commonly keeps company with
cheating, the latter is not gambling.

Where the skilful draftsmanship of a lottery prospectus allures the dull
or sanguine reader into staking his money, by deceiving him as to the
size of his chance of winning, such trickery, though designed to appeal
to the gambling instinct of investors, is not itself an act or a part of
gambling: it is simply fraud, though not necessarily fraud in a legal

On the other hand, when the terms of a lottery are clearly understood by
those who stake their money, the mere fact that the managers arrange
the speculation so as to procure for themselves a known and certain
gain, offering prizes admittedly of less value than the aggregate of
the stakes, need not debar us from regarding the proceeding as “pure
gambling” so far as the players are concerned. So with the roulette-table
at Monte Carlo: the players are aware that the chances are favourable
to the bank over a prolonged piece of play, they even know the precise
amount of this bias. But this knowledge does not prevent their play from
ranking as pure gambling, for no skill or knowledge or trickery on their
part can enter in as a determinant of the result.

Thus an honestly managed lottery, or roulette, may fairly serve as a type
of pure gambling which will serve to enable us to test the psychology and
ethics of the proceeding.

Before approaching the distinctively moral aspects of gambling, we
must clearly realise its intellectual reactions. The rational basis
of the acquisition of property is the “natural” relation of effort to
satisfaction. A man who converts an unshaped piece of matter into an
object of human utility may be said to have a “natural” property in
it. And this in a double sense. The expenditure of human energy given
out in this piece of labour requires recuperation: this recuperation
is achieved by “consuming” that which he has made, or its equivalent
obtained by processes of equal exchange. The effort of production
requires the satisfaction of consumption. Thus it is commonly recognised
that labour, or human effort, is the natural basis of the right of
property. Or, regarding the same relation on its psychical side with
reference to motive, we perceive that a property in that which he has
made must be accorded to the maker wherever any painful effort of
production is required, in order to induce his will to sanction the
effort. In a society where social forces co-operate with individual
effort a _full_ property in that which a man is said to make may not
be essential, but that is because no man working in society and for a
market can truly be said to make the whole of anything, much less its
“value” when it is made. But everywhere some proportion of property must
be guaranteed to the individual who is required to exert himself in
productive labour. Any form of theft, fraud, extortion, “sweating,” on
the part of individuals or governments, is liable to interfere with this
physical and psychical adjustment between production and consumption,
output of effort and intake of satisfaction, which forms the natural
or rational basis of individual property. Just in proportion as this
rational character is firmly and clearly stamped upon the processes
of the acquisition of property do we possess security of social order
and progress. When property comes to any one in any other way, its
transfer has an “unreasonable” character. So a society where force or
fraud habitually or frequently displaces this sane process of acquiring
property, where some persons eat bread _sudore vultus alieni_ and others
consequently sweat without eating, is not only economically enfeebled,
but is irrationally constituted. And this unreason in the social organism
corrupts and derationalises the individual members. But even an unjustly
ordered society, where the domination of one class is accompanied by the
subjection of another, where organised parasitism or plunder prevails,
differs from “anarchy” as regards its reactions upon the intelligence
of man. A bad system, the worst of systems, is less derationalising
than no system. So the habitual exploitation of the poor by the rich,
the “have-nots” by the “haves,” though substantially irrational in the
modes of acquisition of property involved, is less demoralising than the
abandonment of the determination of property to pure chance.

Gambling involves the denial of all system in the apportionment of
property: it plunges the mind in a world of anarchy, where things come
upon one and pass from one miraculously. It does not so manifestly sin
against the canons of justice as do other bad modes of transfer,—theft,
fraud, sweating,—for every one is said to have an equal chance; but it
inflicts a graver damage on the intellect. Based as it is on an organised
rejection of all reason as a factor, it removes its devotees into a
positive atmosphere of miracles, and generates an emotional excitement
that inhibits those checks which reason more or less contrives to place
upon emotional extravagances. The essence of gambling consists in an
abandonment of reason, an inhibition of the factors of human control.
In the history of mankind, civilisation of the individual has chiefly
consisted in and been measured by this increased capacity of rational
control—a slow, gradual, imperfect taming of the animal instincts which
made for emotional anarchy of conduct.

This assertion of rational control, implying some sort of plan in life,
restraints on conduct, and trust in orderly processes of phenomena, has
doubtless been most imperfectly established even in the picked members of
the more highly civilised races. But such as it is, it represents order
in society and progress in humanity.

The practice of gambling is thus exhibited as a deliberate reversion
to those passions and that mental attitude which characterise the
savage or pre-human man in his conduct and his outlook. There lurk in
“civilised” man the remnants of survivals of countless ages of pre-human
and of savage heredity, anarchic passions associated with barbarous
superstitions. The order of civilisation claims to have killed or
atrophied the grosser forms of these atavistic tendencies, but many of
them are not dead; social control and education of individual habits
keeps them in subordination or acquiescence, but on temptation they are
ready to awake. Just as war and certain forms of sport can call from the
caverns of heredity brutish traits whose presence was utterly unknown to
their possessors, so the interest of gambling discovers in many natures a
similarly fatal inheritance.

Maeterlinck has recently sought to find a quasi-rational basis for
“luck” in the occasional revival of certain primitive instincts of
self-protection which, seldom needed in the higher progress of humanity,
have died down and rarely assert themselves. Whether such latent powers
of extra-rational warning exist or ever did exist, we need not here
discuss; it is, however, quite evident that the widespread belief in
“luck” among gamblers is a reversion to a form of unreason which carries
no sound instinct of direction with it. It is fair to adduce this belief
in luck as an important testimony to the derationalising influences of

It does not seem true that the gambling habit pervades only or chiefly
the least intelligent types of men. Among habitual gamblers on the
stock exchange, on the turf and in the card-room, and wherever skill
tempers chance, high degrees of cunning, memory, and judgment are often
found, while certain qualities of determination and of self-command are
conducive to success. But while many men possessing these qualities are
drawn to games or business pursuits where a strong element of chance is
present, there is no real affinity between any of these personal powers
and pure gambling. It is not, for instance, true that skill, judgment,
or self-command is of the least assistance at the roulette-table or at
rouge-et-noir. The fact that these qualities are so commonly regarded as
serviceable to the player may be cited as a conspicuous evidence of the
derationalising influence of gambling even in the case of those who do
not gamble. For in reality they are only useful in proportion as the game
is not pure gambling.

The curious cunning expended in devising “systems” and the attention to
multifarious incidents of “luck” indicate a genuine inhibition of the
reasoning faculty. Both modes of manipulating chance are vitiated by the
same two fallacies. Belief in the efficacy of a “system” implies that a
series of consecutive coups is a causally connected chain, whereas, in
fact, the result of each coup is entirely unaffected by the coup which
preceded or follows it. The “system” gambler also believes that he is
able to forecast to some extent the drift or current of chances which
makes this causal connection. Similarly with the cruder superstitions,
such as the notion that a virgin player will win his opening bout of
play, or that turning one’s chair or changing one’s seat will break
a spell of bad luck: they also imply that a sequence of separately
determined events is in some unintelligible way a mutually determined
group, and that a tendency running through the series can be altered
by a casual or purposed action which is interjected from outside. The
amazing hold which these superstitious notions obtain over persons of
education and intelligence is a striking testimony to the intellectual
havoc wrought by gambling. How insidious is the illusion about runs of
luck may be shown by the ease with which the minds of most persons, who
are averse to gambling and would deride the notion of a “system,” fall
into the snare when it is set in the following form: Enter a room where
rouge-et-noir is going on and learn that red has turned up twenty times
in succession, when the next card is in the act of being drawn there is
an almost irresistible tendency to expect black, from a first impulsive
judgment which has false reference to the general improbability of red
turning up twenty-one times running. Most persons, including trained
scientists to whom I have put the case, requiring an immediate reply,
have admitted that they would be disposed to bet against red.

A practice so corrupting to the intelligence not only of the habitué but
even of the casual spectator stands condemned as a formidable enemy of
education and of intellectual order.

In thus exposing the irrationality of gambling, both as a mode of
transferring property and as a mental occupation, I have implicitly
exposed its immorality also. Its repudiation of equitable order involves
at once an intellectual and a moral descent to a lower plane of thought
and feeling. Perhaps no other human interest, not based on purely
physical craving, arouses so absorbing a passion: alcoholism itself
scarcely asserts a stronger dominion over its devotees.

So widespread has been the zest for gambling among whole races as widely
different in character and environment as the British, the Zulu, the
Chinese, that we are almost driven to seek some physiological root
for the passion. To give an added weight of interest to chance by
attaching to it a transfer of property seems to imply a love of hazard
as a permanent feature in humanity. Though the transfer of property by
gambling not merely feeds the passion but imports grave moral injuries of
its own, it cannot be said to originate gambling or to be essential to
the play of the interest in chance or hazard. The folly and the social
injury of gambling grow with the proportion of the stakes; but high
stakes, while they concentrate and dramatise the play, do not create the

Educationalists and other reformers who would exorcise the gambling
habit must look deeper for its origin and early sustenance. The fevered
excitement of the gambler is part of an exaggerated reaction against
certain excesses of orderly routine imposed upon the life in which he
lives. The dull, prolonged monotony of uninteresting drudgery which
constitutes the normal workaday life of large masses of people drives
them to sensational reactions which are crude and violent. The factory
employee, the shop assistant, the office clerk, the most typical members
of modern industrial society, find an oppressive burden of uninteresting
order, of mechanism, in their working day. Their work affords no
considerable scope for spontaneity, self-expression, and the interest,
achievement, and surprise which are ordinary human qualities. It is
easily admitted that an absolutely ordered (however well-ordered) human
life would be vacant of interest and intolerable: in other words, it is a
prime condition of humanity that the unexpected in the form of happening
and achievement should be adequately represented in every life. Art
in its widest sense, as interested effort of production, and play, as
interested but unproductive effort, are essential. But where either the
physical or mental exhaustion of industry, or other external conditions,
prevent the due cultivation or the expression of wholesome art or play
instincts, baser attractions usurp their place. It is impossible, and it
would be undesirable, to deny to man the satisfaction of his instinctive
zest in the unexpected, the hazardous, the disorderly: he needs not only
achievement but accident to sustain his interest in life. The latter
factor may yield largely to the former in highly civilised man, in a
society where varied modes of art offer varied stimuli to self-expression
and achievement: the artist who is a true artist is least likely to be a
gambler. But a margin of disorder, or hazard and unreason, will always
remain a factor in the interest of life: hence an element of unordered
play as distinct from art will always survive.

Even a moral order imposed in the public interest, if too uniform and
rigorous, will arouse, not merely in bad but in good natures, reactions
towards lawlessness. There is much truth in what Charles Lamb wrote of
his interest in the Seventeenth Century Comedy:—

    I confess for myself that (with no great delinquencies to
    answer for) I am glad for a season to take an airing beyond
    the diocese of the strict conscience—not to live always in the
    precincts of the law courts—but now and then, for a dream-while
    or so, to imagine a world with no meddling restrictions—to get
    into recesses where the hunter cannot follow me—I am back to my
    cage and my restraint the fresher and more healthy for it.

So it is with all sorts and conditions of men: the incalculable, the
lawless remains an ineradicable factor in life.

Where there is little or no provision of or stimulus to art, the crudest
and most sensational play tends to absorb the entire margin of energy
left after work is done.

In such a state of society every field of activity capable of generating
such elements of hazard is pressed into the service of gambling: sports
and business occupations become popular in proportion as they can by
their structure be made to minister to the craving for hazard; every sort
of competition where a sufficient element of the incalculable exists is
pervaded by gambling.

If the monotony of toil drives large numbers of workers to seek violent
sensational relief in gambling, the ennui of idleness prompts the
leisured classes to the same abuse. A totally or partially parasitic life
(where little or no socially directed labour is imposed), though leaving
a large margin of free energy, makes more for dilettantism than for art,
and depriving play of its healthy interest as a relief from work induces
a “boredom” which fosters gambling among other sensational extravagances.
Moreover in the rich, leisured class the disproportion between earning
and spending loosens the just sense of property more than in any other
class, so that large miraculous transfers of property by betting seem
less discrepant with the ordinary conditions of their life.

This line of diagnosis makes it quite apparent what are the real supports
of gambling, and how the vice inheres in the wider “social problem,”
only to be cured or abated in proportion as sounder general conditions
of social order are obtained. When we regard the actual life of an
ordinary worker in a factory town we can easily understand the attraction
of “betting.” It is hard to refuse sympathy to the factory “hand” or
clerk who occasionally puts his “shilling” on a horse, going through his
weary day’s work with the zest of expectancy and hope afforded by his
speculation. It gives him a topic of conversation in the intervals of his
work, and is for him a sort of “politics” in leisure hours: into his dull
life it introduces an element of romance.

It is, however, impossible to discuss the practical ethics of modern
gambling without regarding that factor of pure gambling, which we
have analysed, in its actual place as part of a vicious amalgam in a
dissipated life.

We have chiefly considered the derationalising influence of the anarchic
element of chance which is the nucleus of the process. But, regarded as
a mode of transfer of property, gambling involves a union of several
anti-social desires. The desire to take unearned gains is, as we have
seen, itself immoral, for such gains of necessity imply an injury to
some other known or unknown persons, nor in the case of gambling is
the damage thus done to the character of a winner mitigated by the
knowledge that those from whom he wins have sought similar unearned gains
at his expense. In many natures the possibility of such facile gain
quickens the latent instinct of avarice, one of the most insidiously
disintegrating influences in human society, inviting as it does complete
self-absorption and an entire loss of sympathy with the material
interests of one’s fellows. The brooding infatuation of the habitual
gambler chills human sympathy more certainly than any other practice,
inducing not indeed enmity or active animosity so much as a callousness
which views the misfortunes of others with placid indifference. It is
just this absorption upon selfish ends in reference to incidents fraught
with emotional strain that is prone at once to break down the whole
fabric of the moral character and to dethrone the reason. For as man is
only moral and rational as a being who stands in orderly relation to
other similar beings in human society, so a practice based on a virtual
denial of this social order is the arch-enemy of human personality:
instead of a man we have a self-absorbed emotionalist. “In the making
of a bet—a man resolves to repress the use of his reason, his will, his
conscience, his affections; only one part of his nature is allowed free
play, and that is his emotions.”[1]

The passion of gambling, once settled in a man, seems to take physical
root in him and to be almost as difficult to expel as drink, opium, or
any other acquired physical vice. In extreme cases, it is often held,
gambling tends to absorb all other interests, even swallowing up its
associate vices. This, however, is not the normal case. Gambling commonly
consorts with drink: gambling-houses are commonly places for the sale
of alcoholic liquors, and wherever the law permits, or can be evaded,
drink-shops are betting haunts. Professional gamblers are doubtless
sober when they ply their craft, for skill and cunning are requisite
in most kinds of “mixed” gambling: a broker “cornering” the market,
like a bookmaker handling a sudden shift in the odds, or a card-sharper
with suspicious dupes, needs to have his wits about him. But it is not
as gamblers but as tricksters that these men need to be sober, and as
they require sobriety in themselves they desire the opposite in their
dupes. Hence, the business of gambling is often done in an atmosphere of
alcohol. This is not, indeed, invariably the case. The temperament of
some people is so sanguine and so prone to reckless play that no physical
stimulant seems necessary. But in Northern European peoples drink is
usually necessary to induce that instability of judgment and disregard of
the future which are conditions of gambling.

The statistics of crime prove beyond all cavil that gambling is the
king’s highway to fraud and theft. This is not merely because it loosens
general morality and in particular saps the rationale of property, but
because cheating is inseparably associated with most actual modes of
gambling. This does not imply that most persons who bet are actually
cheats or thieves; but persons who continue to be cheated or robbed,
half-conscious of the nature of the operations, are fitting themselves
for the other and more profitable part if they are thrown in the way
of acquiring a sufficient quantity of evil skill or opportunity. The
“honour” of a confirmed gambler, even in high life, is known to be a very
hollow commodity, and where there is less to lose in social esteem even
this slender substitute for virtue is absent. What percentage of “men
who bet” would refuse to utilise a secret tip of a “scratched” favourite
or the contents of an illegally disclosed sporting telegram? The barrier
between fraud and smartness does not exist for most of them.

Serious investigation of the gambling process discloses the fact that
pure gambling does not afford any economic basis of livelihood, save in
a few cases where, as at the roulette-table or in a lottery, those who
gamble know and willingly accept the chances against them. And even in
the case of the roulette-table the profits to the bank come largely from
the advantage which a large fund possesses in play against a smaller
fund: in the fluctuations of the game the smaller fund which plays
against the bank is more likely at some point in the game to be absorbed
so as to disable the player from continuing his play. If a man with £1000
were to play “pitch and toss” for sovereigns with a number of men, each
of whom carried £10, he must, if they played long, win all their money.
So, even where skill and fraud are absent, economic force is a large
factor in success.

Since professional gambling in a stockbroker, a croupier, a bookmaker,
or any other species, involves some use of superior knowledge, trickery,
or force, which in its effect on the “chances” amounts to “loading” the
dice, the non-professional gambler necessarily finds himself a loser
on any long series of events. These losses are found in fact to be a
fruitful cause of crime, especially among men employed in businesses
where sums of money belonging to the firm are passing through their
hands. It is not difficult for a man who constantly has in his possession
considerable funds which he has collected for his employer to persuade
himself that a temporary use of these funds, which otherwise lie idle, to
help him over a brief emergency, is not an act of real dishonesty. He is
commonly right in his plea that he had no direct intention to defraud his
employer. He expected to be able to replace the sum before its withdrawal
was discovered. But since not only legally but morally a person must be
presumed to “intend” that which is a natural or reasonable result of his
action, an indirect intention to defraud must be ascribed to him. He
is aware that he is acting wrongly, as well as illegally, in using the
firm’s money for any private purpose of his own. But in understanding and
assessing the quality of guilt involved in such action, two circumstances
extenuating his act, though not the gambling habit which has induced
it, must be taken into account. A poor man who frequently bets must
sooner or later be cleared out and unable, out of his own resources, to
meet his obligations. He is induced to yield to the temptation the more
readily for two reasons. First, there is a genuine probability (not so
large, however, as he thinks) that he can replace the money before any
“harm is done.” So long as he does replace it, no harm appears to him to
have been done: the firm has lost nothing by his action. This narrower
circumstance of extenuation is supported by a broader one. The whole
theory of modern commercial enterprise involves using other people’s
money, getting the advantage of this use for one’s self and paying to the
owner as little as one can. A bank or a finance company is entrusted with
sums of money belonging to outsiders on condition that when required, or
upon agreed notice, they shall be repaid. Any intelligent clerk in such
a firm may be well aware that the profits of the firm are earned by a
doubly speculative use of this money which belongs to other people: it is
employed by the firm in speculative investments which do not essentially
differ from betting on the turf, and the cash in hand or other available
assets are kept at a minimum on the speculative chance that depositors
will not seek to withdraw their money as they are legally entitled to do.
In a firm which thus lives by speculating with other people’s money, is
it surprising that a clerk should pursue what seems to him substantially
the same policy on a smaller scale? It may doubtless be objected that a
vital difference exists in the two cases: the investor who puts his money
into the hands of a speculative company does so knowingly and for some
expected profit; the clerk who speculates with the firm’s money does so
secretly, and no possible gain to the firm balances the chance of loss.
But even to this objection it is possible to reply that the revelation
of modern finance in such cases as the Liberator and the Globe Finance
Companies shows that real knowledge of the use to which money will be
put cannot be imputed to the investor in such companies, and that,
though some gain may possibly accrue to him, such gain is essentially
subsidiary to the projects of the promoters and managers of these

It is true that these are not normal types of modern business: they are
commonly designated gambling companies, some of them actually criminal
in their methods. But they only differ in degree, not in kind, from a
very large body of modern businesses, whose operations are so highly
speculative, their risks so little understood by the investing public,
and their profits apportioned with so little regard to the body of
shareholders, as fairly to bring them under the same category. In a
word, secret gambling with other people’s money, on the general line of
“heads I win, tails you lose,” is so largely prevalent in modern commerce
as perceptibly to taint the whole commercial atmosphere. Most of these
larger gambling operations are either not illegal or cannot easily be
reached by law, whereas the minor delinquencies of fraudulent clerks and
other employees are more easily detected and punished.

But, living in an atmosphere where secret speculation with other people’s
money is so rife, where deceit or force plays so large a part in
determining profitable coups, it is easy to understand how an employee,
whose conduct in most matters is determined by imitation, falls into lax
ways of regarding other people’s money, and comes in an hour of emergency
to “borrow” the firm’s money. This does not excuse his crime, but it does
throw light upon its natural history.

Publicity and education are, of course, the chief instruments for
converting illegitimate into legitimate speculation, for changing
commercial gambling into commercial foresight. This intelligent movement
towards a restoration of discernible order and rationality in business
processes, by eliminating “chances” and placing the transfer of property
and the earning of industrial gains on a more rational foundation, must,
of course, go _pari passu_ with other movements of social and industrial
reforms which aim simultaneously at the education of individual
personality and the reformation of the economic environment. Every step
which places the attainment of property upon a sane rational basis,
associating it with proportionate personal productive effort, every step
which enables men and women to find orderly interests in work and leisure
by gaining opportunities to express themselves in art or play under
conditions which stimulate new human wants and supply means of satisfying
them, will make for the destruction of gambling.




The most disquieting feature in the consideration of the state of the
country with regard to this habit is its spread among the wage-earning
classes. By them it was little practised when it first became systematic
in connection with horse-racing among people of better means. Groups of
the latter class lost money and fortunes long before the fashion took any
general hold of very considerable numbers of the aristocratic and wealthy
classes. Betting took place principally at the race meetings. There
were grand-stands upon some of the race-courses many years before the
close of the eighteenth century, probably the largest being the one at
Doncaster, erected in 1779 at a cost of £7000. It was not until ten years
later that a regular market for credit betting was established by the
institution of Tattersall’s Subscription Rooms; and, that the original
purpose of the grand-stand was only for viewing the races, is made clear
by the contemporary records. At Ascot Heath, a separate wooden shed had
to be used by those who wished to bet. Even as late as 1833, although
the Epsom stand was the largest in Europe, the betting market was kept
away elsewhere, upon the hill. Six years later, complaints having been
made of the betting market being held in the grand-stand at Doncaster,
to the annoyance of the spectators, especially ladies, arrangements were
decided upon for the future to form an enclosure for betting outside the
stand. Similar precautions had previously been taken at Goodwood. Betting
was transacted at Newmarket at betting posts, where rings were formed on
the heath. Betting was also carried on away from the courses at premises
belonging to Tattersall’s in London (which, however, in 1839 consisted
merely of a small apartment, with only 300 members on the books), and
in the vicinity of the course at the Newmarket Subscription Rooms,
where there were only 57 members, other than those belonging to the
Jockey Club. There were also special rooms hired at Doncaster, York, and
Liverpool for members of either of the above clubs to bet in. A chronicle
informs us, in the reign of William the Fourth, that although the number
of spectators at Newmarket seldom exceeded 500, mostly of the highest
classes, the majority on horseback, the turf was becoming more popular in
1836 and the attendances larger.

It will thus be understood that the general public, for a long time
entirely excluded from the privileged betting circle, could only take
part in the business by the connivance of some of the professional men
having the entrée. In 1849, however, the Newmarket authorities, seeing
the feasibility of largely adding to their funds, arranged that a small
subscription should confer temporary membership of the Newmarket Rooms.
This caused many complaints by the old habitués, and it was found
necessary, in view of the dubious standing of some of the new-comers, to
modify the credit system, and to insist upon daily settlements. The cash
gaming of the race-course indulged in by the great bulk of race-goers
was not betting, but was carried on by means of roulette-tables,
lotteries, sweepstakes, and other adjuncts of the gambling-booth. The
Select Committee of the House of Commons (1844), in reporting against
the miscellaneous race-course gambling, clearly did not anticipate that
the grand-stands and enclosures would take the place of these other
methods, and become sources of great profit as places used for gambling
by betting, and that the abolition of booths would merely result in the
transfer of the gamblers to the enclosures or rings, as may be seen by
the following paragraph from their report:—

    Your Committee cannot consider the establishment of
    gambling-booths on race-courses as in any way an essential
    accompaniment to racing, and they feel that they cannot too
    strongly express their opinion that all such practices ought
    to be entirely and universally discontinued. If there is in
    any place a real demand for races, money enough is sure to
    be subscribed for plates and stakes to be run for, and if at
    any place sufficient sums for these purposes cannot be raised
    without the aid of gambling-booth rents, the races at such
    places had much better be left off.

Sixty years have gone by, and race-course proprietors acknowledge that
the loss of the present gambling-ring rents, or entrance fees, would put
a stop to three-fourths of the race meetings in the kingdom.

Legislative enactments followed the Parliamentary Reports, and to a
great extent swept away the miscellaneous gambling, which was only to
make way, unhappily, for the more subtle form of turf betting. For years
before the middle of the nineteenth century, many of the proprietors
of public-houses (or persons in collusion with them), and of specially
hired offices in the great towns, had been in the habit of using their
premises for the purpose of accepting betting money, and, after a time,
relations were established between them and some of the credit-betting
professionals belonging to the clubs and subscription rooms. This was
how betting by those away from the race-course continued, and even
increased in volume, notwithstanding the effect of the Betting House Act
in 1853, which, immediate as it was with regard to these betting offices,
was partially neutralised by the change of location brought about when
the new railways were beginning to convey large numbers at a moderate
expense to the course, and by the laying on of the telegraph offering the
means to others of rapid communication with the betting men at the race
meetings, for gambling purposes, by those unable to make the journey.

The time was one of transition, and legislators appear to have overlooked
the fact that the miscellaneous booth gambling having been previously
suppressed, their enactment putting an end to ready-money betting
establishments, then chiefly in towns, would only result in their virtual
transfer to every race-course and so-called club. There had been a great
deal of irregular and surreptitious cash betting upon the race-course,
but it was not a generally recognised system. It was one that had
gradually grown. The bookmaker with a satchel taking money in advance and
giving tickets, was unknown on our race-courses in the forties. Later on
it was particularly recorded that at the Chester Cup race of 1852, one
large bookmaker took a great many £5 notes, and the practice was then
coming into fashion. It was, however, to laxity in applying the law that
the ready-money, or deposit, system owed its subsequent continuation
and increase in volume, for there is no doubt whatever that the Act of
1853 was considered at that time to apply to the evil in race-course
enclosures as elsewhere. A recognised contemporary authority wrote: “The
fatal facility induced by the open deposit system is nipped in the bud”;
and another, “Cash betting stopped upon the passing of the Act.” The
temptation, however, to race managers to wink at wholesale infraction
of the law was very great. Entrance fees to the enclosures promised to
become their financial backbone, and to enable them to add enormously
to the value of the stakes and cups. And it was found that to permit
ready-money betting was to turn a few score of entrance fees to the
rings into thousands. That the practice was even many years afterwards
considered illegitimate is shown by the Jockey Club notice in the _Racing
Calendar_ of July 23, 1874, and the official notice at Goodwood by the
Duke of Richmond, “No ready-money betting will be allowed upon any part
of the course or park,” in the _Calendar_ of the same date.



It is not necessary to follow in any detail, beyond this period, the
growth of horse-racing, and the practice of betting connected with
it which had now become a national foible. The foregoing sketch was
desirable for the understanding of the subject, owing to the absence of
any other authentic continuous record, and by the fact that the masses
of the nation had not become a gambling people as compared with foreign
populations, either in other ways or in this, until long after the
introduction of the sport. The above review of the past takes us up to
the year mentioned (1874), when the failure of a prosecution, owing to
the interest or prejudice of the Newmarket magistrates, for permitting
ready-money betting in the rings, finally opened the flood-gates of the
system, which now, aided by railway, telegraph, and press, spread over
the country in an ever-increasing volume, and from tens of thousands
of sources in city, town, and village drew its main increment from the
money-making and wage-earning classes. Hardly any portion of the country,
any section of the population, was free from the blight. The bookmakers
multiplied. The wealthy and the idle squandered fortunes on them; the
toilers brought their sovereigns and half-crowns in myriads. A large
portion of the press battened upon the advertisements of prosperous
betting men. Servants of the state in high legal positions, devotees of
the race-course, and others of subordinate station, gave decisions as
to the construction of the law so framed as to put no check upon the
spread of professional betting; and horse-racing became a trade instead
of a sport. The enormous money interests honeycombed it with dishonesty.
Sometimes owners, and more often trainers, jockeys, touts, and betting
men, arranged which horse should win, according to the exigencies of
the betting market; and, not unfrequently, poison played its part when
it was necessary, from the trade point of view, to prevent an animal
from first passing the winning-post. The very atmosphere of the turf
was pestiferous; it corrupted everything of it and connected with it.
The pretence that it was any longer a noble sport was only countenanced
by the fashion of titled people patronising it. The ancient plea as
to its improving the breed of horses became a byword as the number of
yearling races increased and the length of the courses was reduced. The
pregnant sentence in the Report of the old Committee (1844) of the House
of Lords was forgotten: “The Committee would consider the advantages
of horse-racing more than problematical if they were to be unavoidably
purchased by excessive gambling and the vice and misery which it
entails.” The streams of small bets swelled into rivers, and the rivers
filled an ocean swamping the land. The twenty or so bookmakers of the
beginning of the century grew into an army of twenty thousand. Many made
fortunes; nearly all made a living. Those who confined their operations
to the race-courses might be said to do less harm than those who offered
facilities away from the course, only that they usually acted in relation
to these latter as the wholesale dealer does for the retailer. One of
these retail men who was not given to boasting (_Chambers’s Journal_,
1898) admitted that his business had a turnover of £250,000. It must be
remembered that the individuals in the streets are merely the journeymen
of well-to-do bookmakers. During last year, amongst the many thousands of
fines for the offence, evidence was given—and there are scores of similar
cases—that a lad of 16 was one of several servants of a master bookmaker,
who mapped out the district amongst his subordinates.

From unofficial but perfectly reliable sources, hundreds of items of
information quite as striking as the above could be given, but they are
unnecessary in view of the statements of officials and others made before
the Select Committee of the House of Lords (1901-2). Briefly summarised,
the evidence showed that the practice of betting had grown to such an
extent amongst the working classes that it was quite commonly carried
on in factories and workshops by agents of the bookmakers, and outside
of them by the street betting men. In speaking of the former method,
one of many testimonies was given by the Lord Provost of Glasgow, who
said that betting was carried on to an enormous extent in the great
workshops there; while an idea of the latter can be obtained from Police
Superintendent Shannon’s statement that in Lambeth alone 441 persons
had been proceeded against in the previous year, the fines amounting to
£2000. The evidence proved also that it was not confined to men, but
had spread to women and children; that it caused the neglect of wives
and children, disregard for parents, and carelessness and indifference
in their occupations, frequently resulting in embezzlement from their
employers; that this professional betting was largely responsible for
corrupting the police, for turning athletic sports into a trade, and for
a general neglect of duty amongst those who indulged in it; that all
efforts to cope with it under the existing law had failed to restrict
it to any extent, including those of the trade unions, some of which
exclude from official positions any one known to be given to betting.
Excepting those witnesses who in some way, direct or indirect, were
interested in the professional betting business, there was a volume of
convincing testimony as to its baneful effects. A former prison chaplain,
through whose hands in ten years a hundred thousand persons had passed,
said that in one jail a whole wing had been set aside for prisoners
in connection with betting, which was now increasing more than ever.
Several years subsequently to this a carefully kept unofficial register
for Great Britain (which is probably a very imperfect one in the sense
of much understating the numbers from the difficulty of compiling a
comprehensive list by private effort) showed that in the previous five
and a half years no less than 80 cases of suicide, 321 embezzlements,
and 191 bankruptcies had appeared upon the records of the Courts owing
to professional betting, and it must be pointed out that probably not
nearly all the embezzlements resulted in prosecution. The Mayor of
Salford, for instance, told an influential meeting at Manchester that
he was responsible for the conduct of a large business in which several
cases of embezzlements had been discovered, but that in no instance
had a prosecution taken place. A continuation of these statistics for
the three following years, as quoted by the Archbishop of Canterbury
in the House of Lords on May 3, 1904, adds to the significance of the
figures by revealing that not only has the evil gone on, but that the
embezzlements have increased at the rate of 40 per cent. With regard to
the allegation that betting was often pleaded as an untruthful excuse in
the Police Courts, the senior Metropolitan Magistrate, who spoke with
twenty-five years’ experience, and others averred that this statement had
been investigated, and proved to have very little foundation; in the very
great majority of cases the magistrates having come to the conclusion
that betting was at the root of embezzlements.

Evil consequences, unfortunately, are by no means confined to these
immediate victims. Testimony as to the corruption of the police, rendered
possible by the large profits of the bookmakers, and the great proportion
of defaulting Post Office employees owing their ruin to the betting
system, seriously supplemented the main evidence. And the inquiries
since set on foot at New Scotland Yard with regard to the Metropolitan
Police give a pointed significance to the revelations made. The gigantic
monetary interest of the Post Office in the betting system appears in
one item of the evidence of Mr. Lamb, the secretary, who said that in
the previous September the department had sent 82 telegraphists to the
Doncaster race meeting, who dealt with 30,000 private telegrams of
persons attending the races, besides 184,000 words of racing news for the

Betting used to be chiefly confined to the large centres of population,
but almost every town and village is now infected. A Chairman of
Committees of the House of Commons, in joining the society organised to
deal with the evil, stated that his doing so was owing to finding that it
had penetrated to the rustic neighbourhood adjoining his Devonshire home.
The strange increase in village telegrams on race days has become very
noticeable, and charges of tampering with messages to cheat bookmakers
are becoming quite common. Such facts, and others, incline those who
have studied the subject to consider that the estimate adopted by Sir
Robert Giffen at the last meeting of the British Association, in the
Economic Science Section, during a discussion on the nation’s wealth, of
£5,000,000 per annum as going into the pockets of bookmakers, is a very
conservative one.

As to the condition of the race-courses themselves, from the ruffianism
of the professional betting men and their hangers-on, interesting
revelations were made before the close of the nineteenth century by the
efforts of one of the great London daily newspapers. It is not needful
to quote the comments drawn forth by the journals friendly to reform, as
those in favour of the institution of the Turf are sufficiently pungent.
A few of these will suffice. Thus _The Field_, August 20, 1898:—

    Those unacquainted with race-courses must stand aghast as they
    read the extraordinary tale of misdoing that is unfolded day
    by day.... A body of miscreants who are prepared to stop at
    nothing in the way of violence so long as they attain their
    object, and care not the least if they leave their victim
    injured for life, as is sometimes the case. The scum that
    formerly attended the prize-ring has turned its attention to
    the most promising substitute.... It depends entirely upon the
    efficiency and vigilance of the management and those it employs
    by way of guardians, whether or not the rings are invaded by
    those who have only to be numerically strong enough to do as
    they please with the respectable element.

The meeting at Epsom is then criticised, but we must devote our little
space to the following, also from _The Field_:—

    The goings-on at Brighton, both on the course and in the town,
    have reached such a pitch that we have discontinued sending a
    representative to report the racing. Sad to tell, almost as
    much justification for such a course exists in connection with
    Goodwood. This has been the happy hunting-ground of the thief
    for very many years, but we doubt if matters ever reached the
    pitch they did this year, the gangs of pickpockets working with
    such impunity that an inoffensive visitor was bludgeoned on
    the head actually in the very entrance to Tattersall’s ring.
    Small wonder, then, when an act like this can be fearlessly
    perpetrated at an aristocratic gathering like Goodwood, that it
    should be repeated elsewhere.

Here is an extract from one of the letters which appeared at the time:—

    Words fail to convey any idea of the ruffianism, robbers,
    and welshing which took place at the so-called Grand Stand
    at Alexandra Park on Saturday last. There were from two to
    three hundred organised professional welshers, thieves, and
    bullies, with few exceptions well known to the officials and
    police and even to an occasional race-goer like myself. Woe to
    the unfortunate individual who insisted on the payment of a
    bet—a split skull dealt from behind, a scuffle, and robbery.
    I have no hesitation in saying that the life of every man and
    woman in that enclosure was absolutely at the mercy of this
    organised and desperate gang, and a feeling of fear paralysed
    the stoutest of us.

There were scores of such public communications. One racing correspondent
of a large provincial paper stated that he should never think of going
to the course without a revolver in his pocket. Of course the so-called
sporting and publicans’ papers tried to make out that these letters
were not genuine, or were exaggerated, but without exception they bear
on their face evidence of their reality. The writer of these lines,
however, ascertained the fact of their genuineness from the editor who
published them in one of the largest and oldest of our daily newspapers,
which has been by no means otherwise conspicuous in this phase of social
reform. We may be allowed to quote the following reflections, which
witness to the existence of this ruffianly condition of the Turf, from
Mr. George Gissing’s _Private Papers of Henry Rycroft_ (1903), pp. 43-44:—

    To-day’s newspaper contains a yard or so of reading about a
    spring horse-race. The sight of it fills me with loathing.
    It brings to my mind that placard I saw at a station in
    Surrey a year or two ago, advertising certain races in the
    neighbourhood. Here is the poster as I copied it into my

    “Engaged by the Executive to ensure order and comfort to the
    public attending the meeting: 14 detectives (racing), 15
    detectives (Scotland Yard), 7 police inspectors, 9 police
    sergeants, 76 police, and a supernumerary contingent of
    specially selected men from the Army Reserve and Corps of
    Commissionaires. The above force will be employed solely for
    the purpose of maintaining order and excluding bad characters,
    etc. They will have the assistance also of a strong force of
    the Surrey Constabulary.”

    I remember once when I let fall a remark on the subject of
    horse-racing among friends chatting together, I was voted
    “morose.” Is it really morose to object to public gatherings
    which their own promoters declare to be dangerous for all
    decent folk? Every one knows that horse-racing is carried on
    mainly for the delight and profit of fools, ruffians, and
    thieves. That intelligent men allow themselves to take part in
    the affair, and defend their conduct by declaring that their
    presence “maintains the character of a sport essentially
    noble,” merely shows that intelligence can easily enough divest
    itself of sense and decency.

For a good insight from a bookmaker’s point of view of the “sport of
kings” the reader is referred to _Sixty Years on the Turf_, by George

Bad as all this is, the continued permission of existence to these scores
of peripatetic gambling hells would be an isolated evil were it not
inextricably mixed up indirectly with the daily life of the masses of
the population, who very seldom or never visit the courses. But these
baneful institutions and the gambling clubs are fed by the life-blood
of the people, whose hard-earned money flows by the thousand retail
conduits of street and factory bookmakers to these gambling marts and
clearing houses. It is not only where working men and women gather in
numbers, but in the home, amongst domestic servants of both sexes, in
the shop, the office, on the journey, in educational establishments,
even in the Sunday school and the juvenile social club and class, that
betting is discovered. A lady who devotes her life to the young, and
lives among them in a poor part of London, says that she has very little
difficulty about drink amongst the youths, but hardly dare attack the
betting systematically for fear of losing her protégés. She found one lad
actually receiving telegrams from France during the Continental racing

An alarming development, for those who travel by rail (and who does
not?), is disclosed in several cases of signalmen having been found
gambling and carrying on bookmakers’ businesses. Any one who, like the
writer, has been in a railway collision, will vividly appreciate this.
The crunch of the carriages, the awful succeeding moment between life and
death, are among the ills that mortality is heir to in modern times, and
are borne with more or less philosophy, to some extent perhaps depending
upon the preventibility of the cause. But it will be well for railway
directors, many of whom provide special facilities for the race-course
gamesters all through the summer, to the inconvenience of the ordinary
traffic, and wink at the gambling which goes on in their carriages
however illegal, to draw the line at signal-boxes being made places under
the Act and their signalmen being bookmakers. The conviction recently of
a signalman for bookmaking at Knaresborough is by no means a solitary
instance. In reporting to the Board of Trade on the North British Railway
collision at Lochmill siding, Major Pringle states that just before it
occurred there were five persons in the signal-box playing games. There
are reasons to fear that there are bookmakers’ agents in many of the
large railway stations, carrying on their regular nefarious business with
the staffs, and affecting the comfort and safety of the public. As to
the race-course ruffians, whose patronage is so carefully nursed, they
have been known to descend from race trains and relieve refreshment rooms
of the provisions without payment, so that it is now the practice in
some places to clear them of their contents before the advent of these
traffic-cherished caravans.

There could be no greater mistake than to suppose that such cases as that
of the clerk through whom the bookmakers robbed the Liverpool Bank of
£170,000 (1901), or of the man who began life as a ready-money bookmaker,
married into a titled family, was presented at Court, made a member of
fashionable clubs, owned the best race-horse of the year, and ended his
society career in his cross-examination in the High Court (1904), are
exceptional beyond the fact of their striking notoriety. All sections of
society are more or less corrupted by the gambling habits prevalent, and
particularly by the professional betting system. It would be interesting
to trace how many of the unhappy people figuring in the Divorce Court
have been connected with the Turf.

In the Civil Service the evil has spread most seriously in the Post
Office and Police departments, but is not confined to them. Information
having been sent to the writer of this paper that a clerk in a Government
office was using the public stationery and other conveniences to issue
betting lists from that office, personal application was made to the
principal of the establishment, who investigated the matter, found the
allegation to be correct, and promptly put a stop to the proceeding.
Upon another occasion it was discovered that two clerks were hired to
spend their two-day holiday from Civil Service work by the betting men
financially interested in a race meeting, who employed them in taking
the entrance money to the rings. Having lost a good deal by dishonest
janitors, these shrewd speculators had secured the services of
individuals who dared run no risk.

The published opinions of such men as Field-Marshal Sir George White,
General Wavell, Lord Charles Beresford, Admiral Rawson, and others bear
eloquent testimony to the fact that the militant Services are suffering
from the immunity obtained by professional gamesters, owing to the lax
application of our existing laws and the need for others. The soldiers
returning from South Africa were systematically induced by gamblers
to part with their savings; and is it not probable that some of the
regrettable incidents during the South African campaign, which the nation
had to deplore, arose in part from the time of our officers in peace,
if not in war, having been occupied more with betting and gambling
than in the study of their profession? Many items of information, both
of a private and public nature, are alarmingly suggestive of such
considerations. A single instance of the latter may be found space
for. One of the witnesses before the Select Committee of the House of
Lords was an officer commanding a battalion of the Scots Guards, and he
gave evidence of the fact that he was a sort of chairman of a betting
committee, the go-between of the Jockey Club and Tattersall’s, upon
which he spent a considerable portion of his time, the principal duty
apparently being to settle betting squabbles between members of the
betting clubs and the professional betting men. If this is not considered
_infra dig._ for the colonel of a crack regiment, what is to be expected
of the rank and file? His colleagues upon this important tribunal
included, he said, a representative of the Ring and two well-known
commission agents, the trade alias for bookmakers. We have no hesitation
in saying that the Navy is as badly tainted, not only upon the evidence
of officers whom we have mentioned and others, but on information from
different sources. It was the painful duty of one in authority some
time ago to court-martial a young comrade who had got into the hands of
bookmakers, and took £200 to pay his debts from funds which, as orderly
officer of the mess, he was able to lay hands upon. He was dismissed
the Service and suffered a year’s imprisonment. In 1904 Rear-Admiral
Henderson, Superintendent of Devonport Dockyard, discovered that betting
was being systematically carried on, and published an order notifying the
discharge of a skilled labourer of nineteen years’ service.

Professional betting is not confined to horse-racing. Lists are
habitually issued in connection with other sports, particularly football.
It is gambling which causes the rush for the football editions of the
halfpenny journals, and, notwithstanding the efforts made by some of
its principal patrons, leading officials of the football world have
been found taking part in the disreputable gambling arrangements of
sporting newspapers. There are numerous instances in athletics, such
as foot-racing, of the proceedings being reduced to a farce by the
bookmakers, who controlled the runners; and more than one serious
accident on the cycle track has been caused by the efforts of one or
more competitors to obey the roping orders from their masters in the ring
without arousing the suspicions of the public spectators.



In miscellaneous gambling, cards, harmless in themselves, are still
prominent. The game of Bridge amongst the wealthier classes is
responsible for reproducing many of the vicious situations we read of in
the chronicles of our forefathers. While Queen Victoria was lying dead,
one very prominent female society leader could not be got to abstain
from this form of gambling even for a brief space. At the aristocratic
mansion over which she presides guests must play. One young man of
moderate income suggested that his means were quite unequal to such
hazards as the hostess and her friends were accustomed to, but he was
given to understand that he could play or leave. He unhappily chose the
former alternative, and in a few hours lost half-a-year’s income. There
are hundreds of smaller imitators of this woman, whose husband ranks high
in the political world. The disgusting position is frequently created
of young girls, not discouraged from gambling by their parents, losing
money which they have difficulty in paying to men with whom they are
not otherwise well acquainted. In speaking to a young lady who moves
in society circles, and on inquiring with due diffidence as to her
knowledge of gambling among the friends of her family, she said, without
the slightest hesitation, “Oh, every one we know gambles.” One of the
speakers at the council meeting of a ladies’ association, of which Lady
Trevelyan is president, said that a society lady, on a friend observing
that £150 a year seemed a small allowance for her daughter, replied that
the latter was such a good Bridge player that she easily made £1000 a

Amongst the poor, where horse-race betting does not prevail, cards,
to which juveniles are largely taking, as well as automatic machine
gambling, are often made the vehicle for disposing of their small means.


A very large proportion of the business done upon the Stock Exchange is
nothing else than gambling. No stock passes. It is merely gambling in
the rise or fall for differences. Here, as elsewhere, neglect, for which
the whole nation is to blame, has allowed matters to get into a groove,
and great difficulty will be found in getting out of it. In another
chapter suggestions are made, and if the proposed remedy is necessarily
a serious one for those whose business is to a great extent founded
upon an illegitimate basis, some of them at least feel that the present
system is indefensible, and the following pathetic extracts from a letter
written by a member of a leading Stock Exchange firm merely express
the conscientious misgivings of the best class of men there—misgivings
which are more or less shared by all but the hardened gamblers of the

    The evils of speculation, in common with many more fellows
    here, I much deplore; but at the same time, when three-fourths
    of the business is of that nature, what is the alternative
    to most Stock Exchange men? Either starvation or gaining a
    livelihood by means which one’s conscience tells you to be
    wrong; and human nature is not proof against the temptation.
    That is the naked truth, not to mince matters; and God knows
    it is an awful fact, to those who give any thought to these
    things. I am perfectly certain that the majority of Stock
    Exchange men loathe the business, and would be glad to get out
    of it. The subject is never absent from my mind. I have felt in
    a great strait over it for years. God grant that I may get out
    of it somehow; but how, He only knows. It seems queer to write
    like this to a stranger, but you have struck such a chord of
    sympathy that it is a relief to unbosom one’s mind.

The above remarks also apply to the produce and metal exchanges. The
misery caused in Lancashire and elsewhere by American gamblers cornering
the cotton market is calling the attention of merchants to this branch of
the subject, and with a little goodwill on the part of the Governments
concerned there should be no insuperable difficulty in framing
regulations which will greatly hamper, if not destroy, the possibility in
future of such proceedings.


Thus in England, at the commencement of the twentieth century, the
world of society, commerce, finance, and athletic sport is saturated
with gambling, more or less veiled or entirely open. Individual and
family ruin from it in all classes is frequent; and there are thousands
of cases stopping short of this, but entailing, besides material loss
and suffering, the lowering of the moral and mental nature, thus
affecting the intellectual and religious fibre of the people. But the
evil to the nation does not stop here. Until lately, at all events, the
highest Courts of Law, as well as the lower ones, did not escape the
indirect taint, and even now politicians and office-holders, who would
be ostracised in Japan, continue to allow themselves, and very often
their households, to be deeply involved in gambling transactions in
their homes, their clubs, and with low practitioners of the race-course
ring, their children in numberless cases copying the evil habit. A young
heir to a peerage, a candidate for a seat in Parliament, whose father
is considered to be a great political light and would wish it to be
supposed that he is not without reforming zeal, although fencing with
the question of the betting ring, boasted to a companion of his sudden
acquisition of £2000, laughing at the idea of having worked for it, and
explained that it came from the bookmakers at one meeting. The public
services are corrupted, particularly the Police and the Post Office, the
latter institution rendering many unnecessary services to the gambling
system, in the profits of which it largely shares, and not making the
special efforts which we see in the United States and elsewhere to
hamper professional gambling. The nation as a whole is, it may be
hoped, too healthy in a moral sense to allow a further continuance of
this social plague without a great effort to grapple with it; but the
bitter experience of the nineteenth century demonstrates how futile it
would be to rely solely, or even to any great extent, upon the unaided
attempts of educational persuasion to root it out. These, indeed, must
not be relaxed, they must be increased and multiplied, and should be
supplemented by more extensive and systematic endeavours, aiming at
improved conditions of life for the poor, and further amelioration of
health, and opportunities for recreation; but betting and gambling
should also be made, as they can be made, by amended and better applied
legal regulations, far less profitable, and more difficult, dangerous,
and disgraceful, whether for the rich or the needy. There need be no
real interference with the liberty of the subject; for that liberty,
regarded in a true light, should not confer any licence to trade upon
the ignorance, weakness, or folly of others, which is the characteristic
of all gamesters, and not least of those belonging to the professional
betting system.



Nothing is easier than to heap abuse upon the Stock Exchange and to place
to its debit every crime of which the gambler can be guilty. And all the
abuse would have a sediment of truth beneath it, for infinite are the
evils that have grown up and spread their roots far and wide through all
strata of modern society since the day when dealing in stocks and shares
first became a passion or a habit. True as this is, and numberless as may
be the demoralising consequences of indulgence in the habit of stock and
share “bulling” and “bearing,” it would be none the less false and unjust
to lay upon Stock Exchanges and their members all, or even half, the
blame for the moral undermining of society that may ensue from subjection
to the hazards of the play. In many of its functions the Stock Exchange
has always done admirable service to civilised mankind, and the great
majority of the members of all such institutions are men as upright, as
humane and high-principled as could be found among any body of merchants
in the world. It is not their fault but often their misfortune that the
spirit of unbridled lust after unearned wealth should so continually
strive for the mastery and so often become dominant in their business.

From the point of view, however, of the highest ideal of national
morality, it is unquestionable that the trade of the stockbroker is
of tainted origin. In this country the business began in an organised
sense when William III. founded the National Debt and called the Bank
of England into existence to furnish him easily with the means to carry
on his Continental wars; and an evil day surely it was for the peace
of the world, for the progress of mankind and civilisation, for the
masses of those who toiled in all countries endowed with a settled form
of government, when national debts were invented—debts laid upon the
shoulders of the people without either the intelligent or deliberate
sanction of those called upon to bear the load, or adequate estimate of
the consequences in any direction.

We must, however, in most things take the world as we find it, and in
spite of my hatred of all debts, and of my belief that debt never paid
off in the long run ruins the debtor, whether individual or state, it has
to be admitted that good of many kinds came out of evil in this instance.
Debt, by the intermediary of the banker, begat credit; and credit, based
upon a security which was reliable, the fruits of a nation’s labour
and enterprise, gave an irresistible impetus to that industrial and
mercantile expansion which has carried the prosperity of the United
Kingdom to heights never before seen on earth, and changed the course
of human progress everywhere. Imagine what might have happened if the
banker’s utilitarian fiction, which treated the symbols or book entries
of moneys spent in wars as so much realised wealth, capable of being
utilised to call still more wealth into existence, had never been
allowed to have free play. The nation would have perished beneath the
dead weight of its obligations. Called upon to find the interests of the
debts imposed upon it, out of resources suffering continual depletion,
unstimulated by any new capital beyond what the minority might or might
not have been able to furnish at the moment out of its savings, it would
have sunk lower and lower in poverty, until its condition might have
become one of hopeless anarchy.

The banker and the stock-jobber between them saved England from that
fate—unconsciously, perhaps, but they none the less saved it. Their
operations often exhibited a kind of inverted, topsy-turvy communism.
Gravely treating the promises to pay emitted by governments of all
degrees of irresponsibility as the inviolable obligations of the people
at large, they used these promises and symbols of wealth already
dissipated as the bases on which to rest further credits granted to
joint-stock enterprises—to South Sea bubbles no doubt, but also to East
India companies, Hudson Bay companies, mining companies, canal companies,
adventures of all kinds, some of which outlived the manias amid which
they came into existence, and survive in one form or another to this
hour. Throughout modern history, the part played by debt in engendering
credit, in calling capital into existence as it were out of nothing, and
providing the means to carry out great undertakings by whose completion
alone could the credit-born capital become living and real, has been such
as to transform the world, girdle and seam it with railways, bind it
together by electric cables, and cover its oceans with ships almost as
sure and safe in their comings and goings as a suburban railway train.
In ways almost infinite, credit was created to represent assets not yet
in being; and, by putting in pawn of previously existing debts, and
through the intermediary of banks, it drew out hoards from the keeping of
the thrifty. Dead capital—capital spent—came to life again as it were,
and was a potent agent for the advancement of mankind in civilisation.
By this means modern nations not only stimulated their manufacturing
industries, awoke and encouraged inventiveness, spread their productions
over the whole world, but developed cities at home and made life bearable
for aggregates of population whose healthy existence would have been
impossible under the conditions prevalent, say, at the close of the
Napoleonic wars and for long after.

Many other forces doubtless were at work so far as England alone is
concerned—wealth drawn from India, the tireless energy of the race, the
backwardness of other nations—but it was in no small measure the impetus
supplied by those portions of our otherwise intolerable National Debt,
utilised as a means of creating credit through our banks, that the
resources and energies of the nation, and such forces as it drew from
the yearly accretions of its savings, the ever-increasing fruition of
its accomplished enterprises, were given full scope. In this development
the Stock Exchange played a leading part. Without it as intermediary,
little progress could have been made. Human nature rather than the share
market must therefore be blamed for the manias and delirious gambling
by which every step in the triumph of man over the forces of nature, of
time and space, has been accompanied. The younger generation does not
remember the days of the railway mania, when men went demented over wild
and hopeless-looking projects, and rushed worthless shares to fantastic
premiums in the height of the disease; but amid that insanity the warp
and woof of our present network of roads came into being. There were
enormous losses inflicted upon the multitude by the collapse, the always
inevitable collapse; but good work was none the less done, progress made.
Again, I may say, had the masses of mankind been capable of obeying high
ideals, all this could have been avoided. It is possible to conceive a
state governed by a spirit of mutual help and wholesome brotherliness in
citizenship, wherein all would have been united according to their means
to build these new iron highways for the good of the whole community,
not for private gain; but it is vanity to think thoughts like these,
men being what they are. The one effective force that could be relied
on to attract the necessary capital to any enterprise is cupidity in
one degree or another, the desire for individual profit. It may be the
restrained and wholesome acquisitiveness of the man who merely seeks a
safe repository for the fruits of his thrift, but more often it is the
greed which cherishes the desire and hope of excessive and untoiled-for

A subject full of temptation to the student of human passions is provided
by the history of Stock Exchange _furores_, but I cannot pursue it. I
will only cite some characteristics as ground for suggestions towards
the abatement of admitted evils. Their eradication, I fear, is beyond
hope until the spirit of mankind changes and its ideals. Certain
characteristics stand out prominently to distinguish Stock Exchange
gambling of the present day from that prevalent before the first Limited
Liability Act, that of 1862, came into force. Previous to that date
gambling in stocks had been confined to a limited class of the wealthy,
whether aristocratic or professional—to the narrow, plutocratic classes
and their immediate flunkies and hangers-on; but after the Limited
Liability Act of 1862 gave definite form to this kind of joint-stock
enterprise and enlarged the field of operations, speculation gradually
became the fashion with classes of people hitherto unfamiliar with it,
and the fascinations of the play attracted wider and ever-widening
circles of society. After 1870 education came to the help of the share
manufacturer, and by and by the financial newspaper, the professional
tipster, the “bucket-shop” agencies outside the Stock Exchange, conducted
with the avowed purpose of guiding the play so as to bring wealth to
the gamblers, exercised their malign influence. Then came the £1
share, fully paid up, with no further liability, as the most attractive
speculative instrument of them all. When I first knew the City, more than
thirty years ago, no joint-stock undertaking whose projectors wished to
be thought respectable could have been launched with a capital composed
of £1 shares, whereas now very few companies of any sort are constructed
on any more substantial-looking foundation. Mines, even gold-mines, in
the early days of limited liability were rarely launched as joint-stock
undertakings with shares of merely £1 nominal value. Nowadays, shares of
5s. nominal value are not uncommon in the case of such companies, and a
few months ago the shares of several prosperous Indian gold-mines were
subdivided into half-crown units, really in order to facilitate market
dealings, _i.e._ gambling, in them over a wider field.

By the aid of the £1 share, all manner of enterprises have during the
last fifteen years, or since 1890, been converted into joint-stock
companies on the basis of an excessive capitalisation that would have
been impossible to the same extent under the old fashion of the £10,
£20, £50, or £100 share; and the losses consequent upon the unprincipled
rapacity of the promoter, gratified by means of this ensnaring instrument
of speculation, have been greater and more widespread than those
inflicted upon an easily deluded public by all other forms of joint-stock
swindling put together. When the new fashion was just coming into favour,
one of the shrewdest members of the Stock Exchange, a broker of high
character, predicted to me that it would be so. Talking of railway
manias, shipping manias, and the losses they have caused, he remarked
that they were “trifles to what the public is going to suffer through the
£1 share.” Not many years after this opinion was expressed to me, the
nation plunged into the South African gold and diamond mine dementia,
with results not yet by any means fully visible, but whose harvest of
loss and affliction has already transcended in magnitude and in the
numbers of the victims all the plagues of this sort that have preceded it.

It looks so easy for the “small man,” as the City slang would put it,
to have his “little fling” with a £1 share. Even when such share rises
to five, ten, or twenty times its nominal value, it still seems easy,
tempts the multitude more perhaps than when it may be at a discount, and
there are such facilities for indulgence in the passion to make money
without effort, with “no risk at all,” as the bucket-shop puffer is
ever iterating. The market gives every facility, is ready to lend its
means to the player, to smooth the field for him at the start. He need
not pay for the shares he buys. The dealer and broker will “carry” them
for him fortnight after fortnight, as each market “settlement” comes
round, lending the money at handsome rates of interest, and charging
an infinitesimal commission, or, perhaps, no commission at all, for
performing this necessary operation. A man possessed of £50 may in this
way be induced to speculate in £500 or £1000 worth of these small shares,
staking his all. If the buyer wins, as in seasons of fever he often
for a time does, the heavy interest he is charged does not affect him.
Each fortnight, as the Stock Exchange account comes round, he pockets
his “difference,” the sum left over as product of the advance in price
after all charges have been met, and thinks himself on the high road to
affluence. Initial success inflames the appetite, fresh purchases are
made, probably before the earlier speculations are closed, and while
the profits already reaped by the earlier gambles are being spent as
fast as received. By and by reaction comes, losses accrue, expressed in
“differences” to be paid instead of received, and the end is usually
misery for years, for a lifetime, or sudden and irretrievable ruin.
Slowly, and amid infinite suffering, this harvest of the South African,
the Kaffir market insanity is now being reaped, as that of more than one
Australasian and American rage of speculative abandon has been again and
again during the present generation.

Is the disease thus indicated incurable—a disease whose course is
invariable, whose end is profit, wealth perhaps, to one in a quarter of
a million among the players, and to all the others various gradations
of loss, from a few pounds disbursed in exchange for wisdom-fraught
experience to complete ruin and social degradation? Yes, I believe
it to be incurable, especially in a society constructed with such
all-pervading artificiality as ours. One’s first impulse is to cast
unmitigated censure upon the gambler; but that also would be unjust.
The motives of mankind are mixed always, and at the beginning the
impulse which starts the speculator in shares on his downward course is
oftener than not at least half laudable, is at the worst the product
of a man’s surroundings, of the vanities of life by which he may be
lured. Constituted, moreover, as the social economy of modern England
is, the great bulk of our fellow-citizens have no assured foothold in
the land of their birth. They toil without hope, and see only privation
or absolute want at the end of the day’s work—be it long, be it short.
Essentially we are a nation of nomads, uprooted from the soil, and with
no assured hold on the means of existence, speaking of the mass, beyond
what the weekly wage or yearly salary furnishes. What more natural, one
may say inevitable, than that this divorcement should generate in a
vigorous race a hunger after security, a craving for some refuge, some
shield against the uncertainties of existence, a way of escape, perhaps,
from the irksomeness of individual surroundings, the tyranny of a hard
taskmaster, the caprices of employers, whose power over all beneath them
is too often almost that of life and death. By their surroundings, by the
circumscribed horizon of their life, the minds of many men are prepared
for the tempter who comes to them with the promise of deliverance by
means of a successful gamble on the Stock Exchange. Others, again, are
moved merely by vanity, by false standards of social wellbeing, by
jealous emulation of those who may seem richer than they are, for is
not the possession of money our one standard of “wealth” and wellbeing?
To all such, once the plunge is taken, degeneration comes. A habit is
established, and may become a craze, a passion, a lust that in time will
devour all that is best in the heart and intellect.

Such seems to me a fair summary of the psychology of gambling, and I
do not see how its ravages are to be stayed, the disease eliminated
from society, without radical changes in its structure implying loss of
privilege and an abatement of class selfishness by the few who now stand
apart, the nation’s drones and hive-harriers, or without the cultivation
of higher ideals than those implied in mere purse-proud social emulation.
And of one thing I am sure; the London Stock Exchange can do little or
nothing to check the ravages of this social canker, nothing effectual
can be done in any Stock Exchange of them all. To expect bodies of men,
associated together for purposes of gain, in the conduct of their daily
business to lay down self-denying rules for their conduct, is not merely
unwise but futile. The more the organised groups of stock-jobbers and
brokers doing business at particular centres called Stock Exchanges
hemmed themselves in by restrictions established with a view to limit the
facilities for play, for buying and selling, the more such business would
be thrown into the hands of irresponsible outsiders, most, if not all, of
whom are mere vultures and cormorants, devourers of the substance of all
who fall into their hands. In a very real sense the saying is just that
the less restricted, within well-regulated limits, the constituted market
may be the greater is the safety of the public from fraud and loss.
Often when the London Stock Exchange, by far the most powerful and best
organised institution of the kind in the world, has attempted to bar the
way to the mere speculator in certain directions it has been defeated. It
refused many years ago to sanction dealings before allotment, that is to
say, purchases and sales of a security before it was really in the hands
of the market or the public. The dealings went on all the same, until the
liberty had to be restored. Unto this hour many members of the “House,”
as the Stock Exchange is affectionately called by its members, set their
faces against gambling in “options”—against, that is, the system of play
by which a speculator puts down so much money, parts with it for good, in
exchange for the right to “call” for the delivery, or to give delivery,
of a certain specified amount of a particular security—to “put,” the
slang is—on a certain future day at a price fixed when the transaction is
entered into. But this kind of pure betting business grows every year all
the same, and is now of a magnitude an Act of Parliament could hardly do
much to lessen. Against the force of human passions no Stock Exchange can
hope to war with success, and I do not believe that any such body should
be asked to impose self-denying ordinances upon itself, the only effect
of which would be to drive the business away from it into channels more
fertile still in ruin.

But if there is no root and branch remedy, there must be some
palliatives. It ought to be possible to restrain and diminish the ravages
of the share manufacturer and professional market thief, at the same
time that the range of temptation was narrowed for the multitude. It
should be possible to do this, and with goodwill something might be done
even by the Stock Exchange. Take as example the habit now prevalent
of introducing new securities of all kinds on the market without the
preliminary of a prospectus. This habit has received a great stimulus
from the latest attempts at company law reform, in virtue of which the
liability of directors for statements in prospectus has been sensibly
increased. To escape that risk, new companies are now launched without
preliminary statements of any sort. Certain members of the Stock
Exchange, acting in concert with the schemers outside by whom they are
employed, begin to buy and sell shares in an undertaking whose very name
may be until that moment unknown everywhere, and about which neither
market nor public has any information whatever. By arrangements with the
financial press, whose charges for such services are most remunerative,
quotations representing these unreal sales and purchases are daily and
weekly paraded before the public, often accompanied by vague general
statements regarding the wonderful wealth this particular share
represents. Attracted in this way, the ignorant presently begin to itch
to take a hand in the game, and gradually, if times are favourable and
what the contemptuous broker calls the “fool public” is “on the feed,”
quite a lively market arises, whose end is the stripping of the outsiders
by those who laid the snare. The end of the fraud comes afterwards, when
the plotters have got safely away with their plunder. All that the public
may have left is worthless shares. Dozens, one may say scores, of African
and other swindles of this sort have been perpetrated during recent
times of excitement, and now and then the Stock Exchange itself has been
cheated. Surely it ought to require no great amount of self-denial on
the part of this body to stop peremptorily all impostures conceived and
carried out after this fashion. It need only refuse to grant a settlement
of bargains in any share thus foisted upon the public until the whole of
the facts relating to it are laid before its committee, and quotations
in the official list ought never to be granted to any company until the
whole facts regarding it have been properly laid before the public. In
other words, I think nothing but good could arise even to the market
were the Stock Exchange to enact a rule forbidding the introduction of
any security on its floor by the members until full information had been
published by those responsible for its inception, whether by prospectus
or by properly authenticated and signed declarations.

Another reform within the power of the Stock Exchange that might do
much good would be the prevention of dealings in shares that represent
goodwill, and therefore, as a rule, merely the plunder of promoters.
Often, as it is, vendors’ shares are not “good delivery” until after
a certain time has elapsed. If this irregular and capricious usage,
dependent really upon the action of those who found the company, were to
be made an invariable rule, and if such shares were kept out of the play
altogether until a reserve had been gathered against them to give them
substantial value, one fertile cause of loss would be reduced to small
proportions. The plunderings of the Cecil Rhodeses, Whitaker Wrights,
Hooleys, and the like would in this way be circumscribed, although by
no means stopped. Unhappily, as I hold, the mischief cannot be entirely
stopped until the spirit of the nation changes.

Once the habit of “bulling” and “bearing”—of buying more than one can
pay for or of selling what one does not possess—lays hold of a man, the
disease is too often incurable. When the victim suffers loss—gets caught
by the market, as he would put it—he doubtless suffers more or less acute
mental agony according to his character, the traditions of honourable
conduct he may possess, or the extent of his risk. Then his mood becomes
that of the old rhyme: “When the devil was sick, the devil a monk would
be.” Vows are registered never more to be caught in this snare; the mind
is prey to remorse, and virtue is honoured. But let the danger pass,
the threatened loss become a profit, and all is forgotten when next
temptation comes. The player resumes the game, and, on a “tip” from some
interested source, sells a “bear,” in the hope of robbing the unknown
counter player through a fall in the price that will enable him to buy
back at a profit and pocket the difference drawn out of such counter
player’s resources. Or he buys a “bull” to effect the same purpose when
a rise on the market shows a profit. Morally, I may say, there is not an
atom of difference in the character of these two operations, unless it
be found in the fact that the “bear,” the speculative seller, is on the
average a man of wider intelligence than the “bull.” To the public and
the market he is also by much the more valuable gambling animal of the
two, because in proportion as a speculative account is oversold is the
capacity of a market strengthened to resist shocks from bad news. The
publication of such bad news becomes the signal for those who have sold
what they do not possess to rush into the market and repurchase. This
operation often causes prices to advance on bad news, and always steadies
the market against disturbing influences, to the great benefit of the
real holder, who is thus enabled to sell at a smaller loss than would
otherwise be possible. Bad news on an over-bought account—on a market,
that is, where the great majority of the players are holding securities
for the rise on borrowed money—always brings disaster. From this point
of view, the “bear” is much more useful to the genuine investor than
his opponent; but morally there is nothing to choose, so far as the
individual operator is concerned, between the two methods of speculating.

“Bulling” and “bearing,” it may be said, constitute the daily business
of a large proportion of dealers, wholesale merchants in the Stock
Exchange, and for them it is legitimate enough to sell according to their
judgment what they have not got and buy what they could not out of their
own means pay for. It is in their power to cut their losses always when
such begin to accrue, and many amongst them close the day with their
books “even.” That is to say, they have neither a “bull nor a bear open,”
to use the market phrase. They are mere traders, whose judgment of the
market tendencies guides them in taking the one course or the other for
the day only. It is altogether different, however, for the outsider, the
man amongst the public, whether he resides in the City, or at Land’s End,
or in Connemara. Such cannot operate with rapidity, and usually act upon
tips and prepossessions, which in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred
prove fatal to their peace of mind and injurious to their pocket.

Is it, then, impossible to induce the multitude amongst the people to
abandon this method of hunting after wealth without labour, for that is
our only hope? A change in the spirit of the people, a higher sense of
self-respect, a deeper regard for the community of interests which would
lead a man to treat his neighbour as a man to be helped, not injured,
would do more to put an end to this modern habit than any number of rules
and regulations. It has been suggested that gambling could be almost
entirely put an end to were sellers of shares to be compelled to hand
in the name of the possessor, or the numbers of bonds where bonds are
sold. Undoubtedly this would stop every kind of free-handed gambling,
except by way of options; but could any such regulation be established
that would apply to the irresponsible dealings of the outside gambler
through bucket-shops? I think not. Moreover, any such regulation would
in the long run be injurious to genuine holders of securities. Take
the example of Bank shares. It is almost forgotten nowadays that, as a
consequence of the banking panic of 1866, an Act, known as Leeman’s Act,
from the name of the man by whom it was introduced and carried through
Parliament, effectually stopped speculative dealing in Bank shares. These
are now consequently exclusively an investment security. They cannot be
sold without giving the numbers of the shares and the name of the holder
out of whose possession the shares are to come. There is consequently
never any “bear” account, that is to say, any account open in unspecified
shares sold for the fall, in Bank shares, and unquestionably this
immunity from attack has been most valuable in checking Bank scares when
credit has become strained. But what would happen supposing a crisis
arose through the failure of one or two important Banks? Would it be
possible for frightened shareholders to escape their liability and sell
out before the crisis became acute? No, it would not. The shares would
simply be unsaleable on any terms; there would be no market for them
at all, and each individual holder would be compelled to face his loss
without chance of escape. From a moral point of view this may be all
right—I am not objecting—but undoubtedly the acuteness of the disaster
would be concentrated to a cruel and most ruinous extent upon the then
existing groups of Bank shareholders.

Recently, when a panic threatened in Russian securities upon the Paris
Bourse, the official brokers there notified to the outside market that
they would not record sales of the bonds unless the numbers thereof were
handed in with the order. This at once stopped speculative selling, but I
doubt whether the consequence was not to weaken the market and to render
the credit of Russia suspect amongst the multitude who, speculatively or
otherwise, held this particular national debt. At any rate, the rule was
very soon abandoned, and dealings resumed on the old footing. In Germany
a number of restrictions and vexatious taxes have been placed upon Bourse
transactions, especially those of a speculative kind, without increasing
the health of the market or really diminishing the amount of gambling
done. The business is transferred to other markets, very largely to
London—that is all.

Again, it may be said that the English Government put an end to one form
of gambling, still prevalent on the Continent, with complete success.
Lotteries were put down by Act of Parliament, and the trade of the
lottery-ticket jobber summarily stopped. That is true enough, but there
is no analogy between a step of this kind and stopping gambling in
actually existing securities. If lottery loans themselves had not been
discontinued, it would have been impossible for any Government to stop
the pernicious dealing in lottery tickets. If we could stop all issues of
securities, wipe off the National Debt, Municipal debts, the intolerable
burdens of Colonial debts, and turn all joint-stock undertakings into
communistic organisations, there would be an end of Stock Exchange
gambling, at least in any form now familiar to the public; but short of
that I do not see how the legislature can interfere with effect without
creating other, and perhaps worse, evils than those it sought to abolish.
An example of legislative powerlessness has been furnished by recent
efforts at joint-stock company law amendment. The Act of 1900, which was
going to do so much to purify the atmosphere and limit the ravages of
the unscrupulous promoter and his “front page” guinea-pigs, has really
increased the mischief, as I have already pointed out. Gambling might
be diminished were the State to increase the taxes upon speculative
transactions, although I am doubtful; but any such increase would rather
tend to emphasise the absurdity of the Gaming Acts. Through these Acts
it is possible now for any speculator to repudiate his obligations, and
cases frequently arise in the Law Courts where losses are in this way

Possibly the law might be able to put down outside speculative agencies,
which do an incalculable amount of mischief, and yet even there
difficulties stand in the way. Are newspapers to be forbidden to insert
the advertisements of these “bucket-shops”? Will the Post Office refuse
to transmit their circulars? How far is it legitimate or safe, let alone
wise, for the State to interfere in order to protect the fool from the
consequences of his own folly? I cannot solve the problem; it perplexes
me much and often, but the longer I think things over the less am I
inclined to invoke the aid of the State in order to put an end to this
social canker.

The remedy must come, I repeat, from the people themselves: from better
instruction, from healthier views of what constitutes true success and
respectability. There is an emulation in extravagance which has spread
widely through all classes of society during the past two generations,
and has now culminated in a vicious recklessness that does more to whet
the appetite for gambling of all kinds than anything else. This spirit is
not perhaps so visible in the country village, at the rural parsonage,
or among the petty tradesmen in a small country town as elsewhere; not
so patent to the eyes of the onlooker. We do not need to go so far:
society in the West End of London is quite sufficient for illustration.
The habits there have grown in extravagance within my time to a degree
almost impossible to realise; and most people embraced in this word
“society,” as well as thousands who are pressing to get within the magic
circle, live beyond their means, struggle to eke out their inadequate
incomes—inadequate through the standard set up by gambling on the Stock
Exchange, often by ruining themselves.

Why cannot people exercise some moral restraint, or at least a trifle of
common-sense? No system of gambling in existence treats the public with
absolute fair play. The sharper is everywhere, but far less frequently
in evidence on the Stock Exchange than anywhere else. It is none the
less true that the mere charges of the market constitute a considerable
handicap against the outside player. Supposing a man is induced to buy
a security, the price of which at the date of his purchase is £1000.
According to the character of that security, he will pay from 25s. to £5
to the broker he employs to carry through the transaction. This charge is
really a very small payment for the work done—would be quite inadequate
payment at its highest, did the market transact investment business
alone. That money, however, is so much out of pocket at the start to be
set against expected profit. Then there is what is called the jobber’s
“turn.” The wholesale dealer in the market has always two prices. He buys
at one price and sells at another, the difference being his immediate
limit of profit. Assume such difference to be merely half-a-crown per
cent, and the stock bought will cost the outside buyer 50s. more than
he could have sold it at when the transaction was entered into. Say £5
altogether is thus against the outside buyer on the deal at the start.
The security purchased will therefore have to rise 5s. per cent before
he can get home, as the phrase is, without loss. If the profit, however,
does not come along within a fortnight or thereby, arrangements have
to be made to carry the transaction forward to a new account, as it
is called. This involves interest on the money, which cannot, on an
average, be less than 5 per cent per annum, or roughly another 50s. per
fortnightly account. In addition, there is probably a small charge,
representing £1 or 25s., made by the broker for arranging the fictitious
purchase and sale by means of which this continuation of the bargain is
effected. Let a speculative purchase be carried on in this way for a few
months, and it will become evident to everybody that a very considerable
rise must occur before the purchaser is able to sell at a profit after
meeting all charges. In three months he may be £20 to £25 to the bad,
assuming the price to remain where it was when he bought. If people would
reflect in this way, and make calculations before they plunged into a
gambling transaction of the sort, they would surely often hold their

With sales for the fall—sales of what a man does not possess—it is often
very much worse, especially if a man has sold a share or stock on which
dividends accrue from time to time. He may be saved the cost of interest
on money lent to him, but has to pay the dividend upon the stock he sold
each time that one is declared; and should selling for the fall have
been large enough to exceed the supply of shares available for lending
purposes, he may be called upon to pay a fine for failing to deliver what
he sold, and each fortnight the carry-over charges have to be deducted
from the price at which he sold, together with dividends when they come,
and fines for non-delivery when the “bear” is more or less “cornered.”
In this way it often arises that a man will not come out with a profit,
even should he round off his speculative sale by repurchasing 10 per cent
below the price he originally sold at. I give these brief illustrations
to help the outside mind, to warn people off from this method of trying
to make money, but my hopes are not profound that they will have much
effect. We shall require a world-enveloping credit cataclysm to lift
mankind out of its present vicious ruts on to a higher, a more altruistic
moral platform.


By J. M. HOGGE, M.A.

Betting has so long been associated with men that it is probable there
are still many people who have never considered the evil in its relation
to women. The attention of those, however, who have given some thought
to the problem of betting and gambling has been increasingly turned to
this phase of the question, and it is now certain that among women the
practice is spreading with alarming rapidity. As in the case of men, the
habit is not confined to any one class of society but has affected all,
so that at the one end of the social scale costly jewellery is sold to
cover bridge debts and at the other blankets are pawned to put money on a

If we turn to the evidence given before the Lords Commission we find
numerous side references to the practice. Here, for instance, is some
evidence given by Chief Constable Peacock of Manchester:—

    _Q._ One of these slips (_i.e._ bookmakers’ slips) you have
    given me is from a lady?

    _A._ Yes.

    _Q._ And it appears that she had 8s. on in one day?

    _A._ Yes.

    _Q._ In what position in life would she be?

    _A._ She is only a working man’s wife.

    _Q._ She puts in this slip with 8s., meaning that she has
    invested that money on horses in one day?

    _A._ Yes.

Again, Mr. Horace Smith, a well-known London magistrate, in his evidence
refers to the practice of bookmakers taking bets from women and children,
and also to the effect betting has on the honesty of women, giving
instances to prove his assertions. Asked if he thought that women as well
as men bet more than they used to, he replied that he had no doubt they
did, and that he had even had women bookmakers before him. Mr. Spruce, a
Leeds commission agent, also admitted the fact of the woman bookmaker.

This last statement may come as a surprise to many readers, but we are
able to give circumstantial proof of its truth in the following circular:—

    Gentlemen in quest of reliable racing intelligence are invited
    to communicate with Miss ——. Only those who are prepared to pay
    well need apply, as Miss —— is not one of those who give away

    During the latter part of 1903 Flat Racing Season Miss
    —— decided to commence business as a racing adviser, and
    she at once met with conspicuous success, her selections
    including—Grey Tick, Cesarewitch; Burses, 2nd Cambridgeshire;
    Switch Cap, Manchester November Handicap.

    Miss —— invites all sportsmen in quest of genuine racing
    intelligence to join her list of regular wire subscribers.
    Satisfaction guaranteed to all regular subscribers.

    Those sportsmen who send for her wires can rely on winning
    money. Her terms are, she believes, higher than those of
    the ordinary Turf correspondent, but clients will be fully
    satisfied that her wires are worth every penny charged. Those
    sportsmen who require wires every day are requested to apply
    elsewhere, as Miss —— cannot promise to send out more than two
    or three selections every week. The source of her intelligence
    cannot be divulged, but it may be mentioned that no other
    racing adviser is in the same position as Miss —— to obtain
    such genuine information.

This lady charges 10s. for a single wire and £5 for twenty.

Mr. Luke Sharp, the Official Receiver for Birmingham, Worcester, and West
Bromwich, replying to the Bishop of Hereford, drew attention to perhaps
the most deplorable phase of betting among women. This consists in the
collection of bets by agents calling on women for other weekly payments.
Here is what Mr. Sharp said:—

    I had a conversation with one of my friends who is very much
    interested in these matters with regard to some cases in
    Worcestershire, and I wanted to get the particulars, as I did
    not like to make a statement unless I could prove it, and I
    will now read you his letter if your Lordship desire it. He
    says: “I do not mention this in any way to incriminate the man
    who I understand is carrying on a system of gambling, much as
    I condemn such and consider it should be stopped. I simply
    brought the matter before you to show how among the many ways
    gambling is brought to the houses of the working classes. It
    is done by agents who, while collecting the weekly payments on
    some article purchased, also collect for the master who makes
    a book, and so induce the women to place money on any race
    taking place in any part of the kingdom. I consider something
    should be done to put a stop to such.” That is about the worst
    kind of gambling that I ever heard of.

Along with this evidence we must also take that of Mr. Robert Knight,
General Secretary of the Boilermakers’ Society, and a magistrate of
Newcastle, who says:—

    Betting generally is largely on the increase; especially is
    this noticeable amongst young men and women. Between the
    hours of 11.55 and 3.15 a bookmaker was recently seen to take
    236 bets from men, women, and children in South Shields....
    Unrestrained by Act of Parliament, the bookmakers go from door
    to door in the streets occupied by the working classes for
    the purpose of inducing women to bet.... When the workmen are
    at their work these bookmakers go round and visit the parts
    where they live, get hold of the wives of the workmen when the
    husband is at work, and get them to bet. Very often it does not
    end in betting with spare money: a woman very often takes the
    things of the house and pawns them to get the money to bet with.

There is still another reference to this practice in Mr. Knight’s
evidence, which we give in full:—

    _Q._ With regard to the house-to-house betting, would you
    include that in the prohibition (_i.e._ of street betting)?

    _A._ I would. I think it has become a terrible evil—one of the
    worst I know of.

    _Q._ Do these bookmakers solicit the women or whoever opens the
    door to them?

    _A._ Yes; they go from house to house, and they get the women,
    in the absence of their husbands, to bet, and I have known in
    some cases where the money has been so short that the mother
    has gone and taken some things out of the house and pawned them
    in order to get money to bet with.

    _Q._ Have you known of bad cases of women betting with their
    husbands’ money, for example?

    _A._ Yes.

    _Q._ Do you know many cases of that kind?

    _A._ Very many. In some cases the husband is not himself given
    to betting, but on account of the visit of the bookmaker to the
    house during the husband’s absence at work the wife has given
    way to betting; and then by-and-bye the husband has got to know
    that this has taken place, and I need not tell you the result:
    it is extremely sad.

It will be agreed that this form of betting is particularly mean and
despicable, even if it be true to some extent that women when they gamble
are specially addicted to it. Indeed Mr. Tannett-Walker, who is connected
with a large engineering works near Leeds, gave it as his opinion, in his
evidence before the Commission, that they were “worse gamblers than men,”
and he went on to say:—

    I think it is more serious, because, generally speaking, the
    working man only bets with his pocket-money, as he calls it in
    the working districts, and I think the woman very often risks
    the money the husband gives her for household purposes; I think
    she is much more reckless and excitable under loss than a man,
    and therefore much more likely to go to the full extreme of all
    the money she has in her pocket.

The present writer has had the privilege of receiving a large mass of
evidence from clergymen, the police, prison chaplains, officers of the
S.P.C.C., police court missionaries, district nurses, and others, bearing
on the prevalence of the habit, and it may be valuable to supplement with
outside testimony what has already been quoted from the Select Commission
on Betting and Gambling.

The Vicar of Jarrow-on-Tyne writes:—

    My impression is that it is on the increase, but it is not easy
    to tell. For the most part, it takes the form of lotteries
    or sweepstakes, women putting in their sixpences, etc., and
    winning a possible £20 or so. Now and then a woman may be seen
    openly betting in the streets, but usually it is done quietly.
    I have been told that women act as agents for the bookmakers.
    Now and then a woman will come to her Communion whom I suspect
    of betting, but, as a rule, I think they feel it on their
    conscience more than people of the upper classes do.

The police court missionary at Newcastle-on-Tyne says:—

    I have had considerable experience of evangelistic work in
    slum parishes in Newcastle, and it is my opinion, from careful
    observation, that there is a very great amount of betting and
    gambling among women. I have known women sell the shoes and
    stockings from off their children’s feet to get coppers to put
    on their favourite horse.

From a pit village the vicar’s wife writes:—

    The women are so terribly tempted by the men who come round to
    their doors.

But possibly the following story, related by a navvy, may serve better
than numerous examples to exhibit the real inwardness of the betting
habit when it attacks the home through the housewife:—

    I have my health and strength [he said], and I have always
    plenty of work; the job I’m on now will last another six
    months. It’s true I have seven children, but I make no trouble
    of working for their support. We used to go to church when
    we was first married, my wife and I; we lived at Southampton
    then, and we both thought a deal of Canon Wilberforce. It was
    him that tied the knot. Since we came North I have not gone to
    any church: wife was taken up with the children. But I always
    washed myself, and put on my Sunday suit when Sunday came
    round; sometimes I’d take the kids for a bit of a walk into the
    country, and sometimes I’d take a stroll round with a few of
    my mates. Anyways I held up my head straight and thought I was
    as good as any—my meaning is that I thought I had the right to
    look any one in the face, for I believed till a week ago that
    I did not owe any one a penny piece. It was Saturday even, and
    up comes to me a bailiff chap, but I did not know then that he
    was a bailiff; he shoves a paper into my hand, and I reads on
    it “Judgment Summons. Personally served on the Defendant,” and
    there below I sees my name written in. I said, “Take it away, I
    never have aught to do with such things.” I had to take it in,
    and I found it was an order for £1: 2: 3, that should have been
    paid long before to a firm called a “Clothing Company,” trading
    from a town twenty miles away. Not half a dozen words did I say
    to any one that day, just sits dumb and dazed over the fire;
    not a wink did I sleep, but by Sunday morn breakfast was over
    I’d my plans made.

    I gets a bit of lead pencil from one of the lads, turns the
    children out of the room, spreads out a piece of paper, and
    sits myself down. Then I says to the wife, “My lass, I never
    have chastised thee, never; but now thou hast just got to bring
    me every bill and every pawn-ticket, and thou hast just got to
    think on, and to tell me of every penny I owe, and if I find
    thou hast kept aught back, I shall feel fit to take off my belt
    and to thrash thee with it to within an inch of thy life, and
    if I have to go to gaol for it, I’ll go.”

    By tea-time that Sunday I’d got that paper about covered
    with figures, and reckoned up it come to £70. There were
    two doctors’ bills, four coal-cart men, there were three
    lots of goods from the “Clothing Company,” and four from the
    “Furnishing Company,” and both these I were told firms of
    peddling fellows whom I had never seen, because they are such
    curs they never show their face at a door when the master’s in,
    and when they have sold their goods (all on the weekly payment
    system) to silly women, they go off home by train, so as the
    husbands can’t follow them home and give them the horsewhipping
    they deserve.

    I found a deal of things that Lord’s Day. I went up to look at
    the children’s beds and saw the blankets was gone off them, I
    looks in the drawers and found them empty where they should
    have been full of children’s clothing and bedding. I understood
    that day why the two eldest girls were so long getting
    themselves places; they had naught but what they stood up in.
    Folks might say I should have looked into things a bit sooner,
    but I were one that always said, “If the man earned the money
    and turned it over to the wife, it were the wife’s place to lay
    it out to advantage.”

    We had not been living in that house above a twelvemonth, but
    it all come about since we’d moved in. I could see nothing
    wrong with the street when we took the house; it looked quiet
    enough. It had not been built so long; the house was clean and
    airy, and there was an extra room for the lads, that were the
    chiefest thing we moved for.

    How was I to know, when nobody telled me, that the women in
    this was all a-cheating their husbands, and was just one a
    bigger gambler than another.

    As near as I can make out their practices was like this. They’d
    all back horses with the money they should have kept in a safe
    place against rent day, and them that lost would wait while
    Monday when the packman come round, and they’d take a suit of
    clothes or a pair of blankets on the weekly payment system.
    Straight away they would carry them to the pawn-shop, so their
    husbands having never set eyes on the stuff would never miss it
    out of the house. I suppose they’d think they’d done a clever
    thing when they had raised the money for the rent and a bit
    over besides to back another horse.

    Sometimes the Day of Judgment would seem to have come to one or
    another when county court summonses would come to their house,
    but so long as their husbands did not see the papers, they’d
    put off the day of reckoning a bit longer.

    My wife says they’d run round to one another’s houses and say,
    “I’m in a deal of trouble, will you oblige me to-day by taking
    a pair of blankets off the Clothing Company and pledge them
    for me, and I’ll pay you back when I can? And if you get into
    trouble some day, I’ll help you out if you’ll just oblige me
    this once.” My wife knew nothing about such ways afore we came
    to live in this street, but she were a quick learner, and got
    into it like a lad gets into his new sums when he gets put up a
    standard at school.

    It’s none so very hard when it’s put plain—horses, packman,
    pawn-shop, and a county court; and then over again, more
    horses, more packmen, more pawn-shops, and more county court.

    Sorry to trouble you with such a long yarn, but I put it to
    you as a practical question, How am I to get out of this fix?
    If I go to gaol I lose my work, and rent’s running on, and
    grocery bills and coal bills are running on, for seven bairns
    can’t be fed on air, and I am told going to gaol does not clear
    off the whole of the bill to these pedlar fellows, but only a
    little bit of the back payments, and you may be taken again as
    soon as you come out for another bit. I put it to you plain,
    What is a man in my circumstances to do?

Faced with a similar question, what would the reader do? Circumstances
like these indicate only too clearly why it is that there is a social
problem. The heart of all happiness and integrity in life resides in
the home, and when anything comes between the mutual understanding and
confidence that alone makes home life possible, we may be sure that evils
undreamt of before will find an entrance into the home.

The insidious nature of the evil is best illustrated from the fact that
almost every week the newspapers record the downfall of some individual
whom the public had thought above suspicion. Similar instances occur in
the humbler walks of life. The present writer knows of instances in which
cottages sometimes lent for religious services were also on occasion used
as betting centres. Here is an extract from the letter of a reliable

    A bookmaker made one woman in a street his friend. She would
    receive the money for him, and gradually entice many to join.
    In my own district there the most respectable looking home
    was used in this way. The owner, a widow woman, was perfectly
    clean and tidy, no gossip, and never talking at the door. She
    allowed her son first, and then she herself took it up, and
    just because in all other ways she was respectable, the other
    women were snared into thinking less of the sin.

Another feature which calls for comment is the fact that girls are either
encouraged by their employers, or by their fellow-servants, to indulge in
betting. Deaconess Clarkson of Durham mentions the case of a girl, sent
to service from a “Friendless Girls’ Home,” failing to repay her monthly
instalment for her outfit. On being asked the reason, the girl maintained
that her mistress had persuaded her to put it on a horse.

This other instance would be ludicrous if it were not pathetic. The first
night a young girl spent in service she was asked by the butler to give
half-a-crown for the sweep. She asked why she should pay the sweep! but
in order to avoid giving offence gave him the money. The parlour-maid
“lifted” the sweep, amounting to 37s. 6d., when the girl understood what
the butler had meant.

We saw from the evidence of Mr. Luke Sharp that this evil was not
confined to the North, and it might be well to draw attention to a
reference to similar practices elsewhere. Writing in the _Nineteenth
Century_ recently, a writer said:—

    A typical Lancashire woman of the lower class told me that
    trade was very bad in her district, mostly because the women
    bet a shilling on nearly every race, and they take th’ bread
    out of th’ children’s mouths to obtain the shillings. That
    was a thing unknown in Lancashire fifteen years ago, as it
    was also for women to be seen drinking in the public-houses;
    and half-a-dozen fellow-travellers in the same carriage all
    confirmed her statement.

It might be interesting to give the actual figures for one instance in
which a cottage in a working-class district in York was carefully watched
for some fourteen hours, spread over five days. Those entering to make
bets were as follows:—

                 Men.  Women.  Boys.   Girls.
    First day     84     4      12       3
    Second day    97     6      26      10
    Third day    109     7      33       6
    Fourth day    72     4      13       5
    Fifth day     29     1      12       2
                 ---    --      --      --
                 391    22      96      26
                 ===    ==      ==      ==

It will readily be seen that a very significant proportion of those
entering the cottage were women, boys, or girls.

So far we have dealt almost entirely with the prevalence of the practice
among working women, and that for obvious reasons. In other classes of
society there is, of course, as much betting on horses as among working
women, and for larger amounts. In other ways, too, there is very much to
be deplored. Dean Lefroy, speaking in Norwich Cathedral in June of 1904,
created quite a sensation by a strong denunciation of bridge gambling.
The condemnation elicited some facts, all proving the prevalence of the

No more mean or despicable an outrage of the ordinary canons of
hospitality can be conceived, than that so well illustrated in an extract
from a recent address by Ian Maclaren:—

    I want [he said] from this place to offer my protest against
    bridge parties, which are gathered together simply and solely
    not for playing a game but for winning money by gambling.
    Conceive of one case, and I only mention one. A young married
    lady is asked to go and stay in a country house by a lady older
    than herself, and an old friend of the family. Her husband
    cannot go with her, but she goes down to spend the week-end.
    Bridge is played, and, although she knows a little about it,
    she excuses herself as not being a sufficiently good player. It
    is pointed out that every one must play, and that no doubt she
    will do well enough. She has a suspicion that not only money
    is risked on the game, but that it is risked to a considerable
    amount. She is assured that it is nothing. At the close of the
    evening she discovers that she has lost £35. Of course far
    greater sums than that are lost, but that is a great deal for
    a young married lady, the wife of a professional man, to lose.
    She has not the money to pay. She goes home, and very properly
    tells her husband the whole story. He sends a cheque to the
    hostess, and he states distinctly in the letter that a woman
    who would ask a woman younger than herself, and specially under
    her charge, to play at bridge under such circumstances was
    doing nothing more or less than keeping a gambling-house....
    I ask you whether you would like your wife to be involved in
    this vortex of gambling, and if you are prepared to face not
    the financial but the moral consequences?... I hope this appeal
    will lead you to consider the position, and take a firm stand
    against an insidious because a very fascinating and fashionable

The incident referred to is no uncommon experience, and reveals feelings
alien to the fine spirit of hospitality so common to British life, and
incidentally exhibits the blighting effect of the greed of money upon the
life of society.

The gaming-house proper is a more sordid consideration, which is only
mentioned to show that its existence has not been forgotten. More often
than not it is managed by a woman, and the police raids reveal over and
over again that such houses are the very sink of crime and vice.

From what has been written it will be seen that the evil has spread very
insidiously into all ranks of society. The working woman gambles with the
wage of her husband, the society woman with her dress allowance or her
husband’s income, the spinster with stocks and shares through her lawyer,
and the honestly intentioned though ill-advised charitable lady with
raffle tickets at church bazaars. By refusing to participate in those
lotteries women have one very obvious way of discountenancing an immoral
method of raising money.

Remedial measures for the evil are suggested in another article in this
book, but we would draw attention to one other remedy which would scotch
the evil among women, viz. a resuscitation of the ideals of home life.
“The home,” said the late Mr. Moody, “was founded before the Church, and
you in Britain stand more in need of homes than you do of churches.” The
failure of home is the failure of the parents to realise its duties and
its responsibilities. And the failure to recognise these is traceable
to the failure to recognise the value of a home religion. There is no
home problem where there is true religion, and there is no power which
keeps more alive the best qualities of human kind. Without it there
can be neither that affection nor respect which makes it possible for
the children of the home to remain attached to it, and every child
induced by the example at home to take up the practice of betting is a
disintegrating factor in that happiness which alone can bring stability
and respect to character. This article will not have been written in vain
if it helps in any way to reinvigorate and refresh the home ideal.



When I jot down in 1905 my impressions and observations as regards
betting (chiefly on horse races) as one of the causes of various forms
of crime, and of the type of character that thinks little of crime,
and readily commits it on the lightest temptation or provocation, I
am at first surprised to see how little mention there is of it in a
book entitled _Jottings from Jail_ that I published in 1887, after ten
years’ experience in Clerkenwell Prison. The moral I draw is not that
I ignored it amongst the many causes of criminality and of crime, nor
that I considered it unimportant in comparison with the far more common
cause—that is intemperance; but rather that the evil has been increasing
by leaps and bounds since that decade, beginning in 1876, which I spent
in prison as a young student of criminology. Nor indeed is there so much
as might be expected in my later book _Prisons and Provinces_, although
therein, when enumerating “ten desirable reforms” that stood out clearly
in my retrospect, I find the following passage:—

    5. The censorship of the press in the matter of publication of
    the unnecessary and corrupting details of divorce proceedings
    and suicides and of betting lists. Editors cannot be the moral
    prophets of the age while they keep a sporting prophet and
    while in bondage to advertisers and the lowest classes of their
    readers. Some crime is State-caused, much is paper-caused.

“Crime is condensed beer,” occurred to me as a dictum for which there was
far too much justification; but “Crime is the fruit of betting,” neither
seemed to me then, nor seems to me now, a tenable adage.

And yet how painfully the directness of the path from betting to bondage,
from Epsom to the Old Bailey, was brought before me each month for those
ten years. Before each session of the Central Criminal Court a procession
of young postmen for trial, and destined in those days almost inevitably
to penal servitude for their first crime, showed how good character,
fair education, constant and honourable employment, and sobriety, had
all been inoperative against the temptation to steal letters containing
money. And why the theft? In almost every case it was that they had
been led into betting on horse-races, had lost, and had been pressed
for the money by the bookmakers under threats of exposure. This was
an ever-recurring object-lesson on crime as a product of betting, but
the most striking instance I recall was when three Chief Inspectors of
Scotland Yard—Bishops in their profession—were charged and sentenced
in consequence of their having allowed themselves to be drawn under
the influence of some Turf criminals of the most dangerous type. Then
indeed one thought, If those things are done in the green tree, what
shall be done in the dry? If these experienced men of the world, with
professional knowledge of the tricks of the hangers-on of the Turf, can
be drawn into the vortex, what can we expect of the average silly and
ill-paid clerk, who has some excuse for his feverish desire to add to his
inadequate income, though at the expense of others? And telegraph clerks
again became prisoners through their special temptations. The straight
tip for which a shilling had been paid passed through their hands and
added them gratuitously to the ranks of the cognoscenti. Then later in
the day came from the same Turf agent the straighter tip to the smaller
circle of artisans and shopmen who had paid half-a-crown, and later
still the straightest tip to the innermost circle of his customers who
had paid ten shillings. Not all clerks would have sense and integrity
enough not to think that here was a road to fortune made for them by
the expert knowledge of some and the credulity of others. So too, after
Derby Day, amongst the various crimes—pocket-picking, burglary, assaults,
embezzlements—that kept dropping in after and in consequence of that day,
attempts at suicide found their place. The first case that meets my eye
in some old prison notes is: “Barman, 22, lost place for giving drink
away; lost his savings (£80) at betting on horse-races; therefore ‘had
the miserables’ and attempted suicide.” So a London coroner, interviewed
on the subject of an epidemic of suicide, said: “I always look for
suicides after the Derby. After that event you always find that a
certain number of shop-assistants have absconded, and a number of other
people have committed suicide. They belong to a class of people—much too
numerous nowadays—who want to get money without working for it. They
fail, and then they go and jump into the river, or something of that
sort. You will always find some suicides after Derby Week.” And it should
be remembered that not only in London, but all over the world, does Derby
Day represent the acme of interest and of temptation, and produce the
maximum of evil sequelæ. And, again, it struck me forcibly that betting
produced one of the most hopeless types of prisoner with which a prison
chaplain could have to deal. The men habitually on the Turf seemed to be
the very incarnation of cunning and suspicion and selfishness. They had
one prayer and one creed: “Give me this day my brother’s daily bread,”
and “Do everybody, and take care they don’t do you.”

What I have said will show that I was not, nor could be, ignorant of
the existence of the vice as one of the chief causes of crime during
the ten years, 1876-1886, when I was daily conversing with prisoners.
But from all I have seen, read, and heard since, and not least from
conferences with present-day prison officials, I am convinced that
betting has so largely increased of late years that its effects are much
more obvious in prison. I had many sad cases of the ruin of those who
were dependent entirely on character for employment, but had lost that
character through the embezzlement that betting losses had prompted.
But when in 1902 I, as one of the Committee appointed by the Rochester
Diocesan Conference to investigate the question, had before me one of our
Metropolitan police magistrates, to whose court come almost exclusively
the labouring and the shop-tending classes, he made deliberately the very
strong statement that, of recent years, he had hardly ever had a case
of embezzlement before him which was not connected, either directly or
_au fond_, with betting. Nor would he admit that this plea of betting
was merely an excuse put forward without real cause. On the contrary,
careful inquiry into the cases proved conclusively that the plea was a
true one. And to the same Committee Mr. Hawke stated that the House of
Lords’ Commission by evidence proved conclusively that a large proportion
of the embezzlement of the country was due to betting with bookmakers
and to professional betting. And here are a few typical cases that came
close together in point of time. The first was the notorious one of the
quiet bank clerk Goudie, who embezzled £170,000. He had got into the
hands of bookmakers, and they had compelled him to go on by threats of
exposure, after the common practice of their kind. The next is that of
a labourer’s wife, charged with attempting suicide and stealing shoes.
She had pledged them to endeavour to recover money lost on horse-races.
The police constable seized the poison intended for herself and her
children. Her husband was not aware of her betting. The third is that
of a caretaker of a chapel near me, who had stolen £60 in bank notes,
and set up the plea that he had got them at the Alexandra Park and the
Epsom Races. Next comes a clerk who obtained fifteen guineas by a forged
telegram. When only seventeen he made the acquaintance of a bookmaker who
would continue business with him in spite of his father’s remonstrances.
The judge commented on the fact that it was this same bookmaker whom he
had now cheated, and by whom he was prosecuted and got twelve months’
hard labour. The next is a dispenser who embezzled £11 from the doctor
who employed him. His downfall was accounted for by betting, and his
solicitor offered to give the names of the bookmakers with whom he had
been betting, in consequence of whose threats of exposure he had stolen
to pay them. Another clerk embezzled £1. In his absence from the office
the manager’s suspicions were aroused by a street loafer bringing a
betting account for the clerk showing a large amount owing. He lost
fifteen years’ good character, and got three months’ hard labour. And
next comes a postman who, in the words of the Recorder, “had been engaged
in a systematic robbery of the public service in order to engage in
transactions on the Turf.” He got six months, but in my time would almost
certainly have had five years’ penal servitude, as such offences on the
part of postal officials were dealt with then with uniform severity. Had
one to labour the point, a press-cutting agency would enable one to fill
pages with typical cases arising in any week, especially during what
is called the flat-racing season, when, as a friend of mine engaged on
a London evening paper tells me, the circulation was found on inquiry
to increase by 50,000 per diem from the time of the Lincoln Handicap.
The Lords’ Committee were told by Sir A. de Rutzen, after twenty-five
years’ experience of the crime of London, that “more mischief was brought
about by betting than by almost any other cause, especially street
betting, which could very well be put down.... From personal knowledge,
he could say that the evil arising from betting was as deep-seated
as it was possible to be. In cases were persons were prosecuted for
embezzlement and betting was mentioned as the cause, he was in the habit
of making inquiries, which invariably confirmed the statements.” Another
Metropolitan magistrate deplored that he entirely concurred with what Sir
Albert had said, and added that where the crime had been one of fraud or
embezzlement he had invariably found that betting had been at the bottom
of it. Bankruptcy may be a misfortune, but is very frequently a social
crime, and on this I would only refer to the evidence given before the
Lords by Mr. Luke Sharp, Official Receiver for Birmingham, as to betting
as a cause of bankruptcy, and would remark that, carrying my mind back
over a series of years, I cannot remember a case of the bankruptcy of
a trader known personally to me in which either drink or betting, and
commonly both conjoined, was not the cause, although either or both were
often unsuspected until the crash came.

I may add, although facts and figures are here more difficult—and,
indeed, largely impossible to produce—that my fourteen years’ experience
as a Metropolitan Guardian of the Poor, during ten of which I have been
Chairman of a workhouse containing over 1300 inmates, is that betting now
stands only next to intemperance amongst males as a cause of pauperism.
The habit cannot be eradicated even in old age and the seclusion of
an infirm ward, and bets are made in surreptitious pence when the
larger sums and more frequent opportunities of yore are impossible.
The fascination of drunkenness, which is decreasing, is great: that of
betting, which is increasing by leaps and bounds, is greater. The evil
effects of intemperance are to some extent confined to the individual;
those of betting are rarely so confined.



So very much public attention has recently been called to betting, more
particularly as applied to and in connection with horse-racing and the
backing of horses, that I thought I would sit down and write a little of
my experiences in respect thereto and give my unprejudiced views upon
the subject. Yes!—an old bookmaker’s views—illustrated by facts and
circumstances; bearing in mind that, as I believe, this is the first
instance of a bookie’s confession of the “game,” and so is, I suppose, a

I am penning these few lines just as the matter comes across my mind
and without any attempt at literary or even logical merit—a plain,
unvarnished life-tale, as it were—and in so doing I hope to point out
certain means that might improve the Turf business and free it from the
fearful odium it is now in; and secondly—and let me say my main and
principal reason for rushing into print is for the benefit of and a guide
to small backers. By “small backers” I mean those who go in the cheap
enclosures at race meetings, and more particularly I mean stay-at-home
backers (or let me call them, as they would wish to be designated,
“small sportsmen”), who make bets on horse-racing from say two or three
shillings to a few pounds daily and habitually. The large backers can
take care of themselves, but my advice equally applies to them, and they
would do well to follow it.

I am getting an old man, and have been a betting man and bookmaker all my
life, so to speak. My parents were poor people, but respectable. I had
a National School education. When I was about twelve years of age I was
turned out in the world as an errand-boy at 1s. 6d. a week in a general
warehouse. I stayed there for a number of years, until at nineteen years
of age I was a full-blown warehouseman earning £1 per week! I was a
sharp, intelligent young fellow, kept my eyes and ears open, which, I can
tell you, I have done all my life (you need to as a bookie, I can tell),
and I soon made up my mind that the quid a week in a stuffy warehouse,
long hours, hard work, and little prospect of “going ahead,” would not
suit me. A lot of my chums used to “horse-race,” “put a bit on,” “get
up sweepstakes,” and go to a race meeting now and again. In this way I
was first introduced to a race-course, and was successful in winning a
bit now and then, but as sure as faith losing it again, and more too.
My first impression of a race meeting was a very bad one, for I could
see that it was a vast assembly of “wrong uns” to the backbones—thieves,
sharps, pickpockets, lowest of the low ruffians and scoundrels—my opinion
is but little better of the present race meetings. My brother bookies
would endorse my candid opinion, I am sure. The race meetings of the
present time, of course, are far superior in comfort and convenience to
the old meetings, but the same villainy and cheating is ever rampant; but
let us call it now “refined rascality.”

Well, I was wide enough awake to soon see that “backing” was no good,
but that bookmaker was the “game.” I soon found a way to start with a
pal similarly inclined in views. I wasn’t going to stick at a quid a
week when I could see ten times that sum easily to be made. At that time
bookies were allowed to rig up in any costume they liked, so we had red
waistcoats, white plush hats, blue and green parti-coloured coats, etc.

I was soon “at home” at the “game.” I was sharp and cautious, with but
little capital, so, for a time, our rule was “small bets only.” Lor! how
the coin came in! seldom did we have a losing day. Well! to sum up my
many years of experience, money has ever since rolled in. I have long
since been in a position to take any bet you like, from half a sov. to
thousands, “with pleasure,” and “thank you.” Money soon became no object
to me, nor is it now. How comes it thus? One answer only. Because betting
is a one-sided game, and is almost wholly against the backer. Thus the
“bookmaker,” be he a ready-money bookie on the course or a S.P. bookie at
home, is as certain in the long run to “cop” the backer’s coin as I am
writing this. To be sure, the bookie attending the meetings can control
his liabilities to a certain extent, which a starting-price bookmaker
cannot do; but really it matters little—the bookmakers get the cash in
the long run. Let me say that I am referring to substantial well-known
bookmakers, and not to the crowd of penniless welshers who infest every
race meeting held.

I am writing, as I have said, more particularly for the benefit of
backers; they can adopt my advice or not, as they please. Now listen. I
have attended every race meeting held in the land over and over again.
I am as well known in sporting circles as any man could possibly be
known, from the highest in the land to the lowliest, so to speak; my
betting transactions amount to thousands and thousands—I really cannot
say how much. I am known, and properly so, as a very wealthy man—money
is nothing to me—and let me candidly and truthfully tell you that I
have never known a backer of horses to permanently succeed. The backer
is successful so long as his money, pluck, and luck lasts, or until
ruin has overtaken him. He wins and loses—wins and loses. He is up and
then down—up and down. Hope! hope! hope! prompts him to go on; and he
goes on. He diligently studies all kinds of plans and systems; he also
fools his money away with “tipsters,” who have been described as a set
of race-course harpies; every system, all of them of course, certain
and sure. He tries “1st favourites,” “2nd favourites,” “1st and 2nd
favourites,” “newspaper tips,” “newspaper naps,” “jockey’s mounts,”
and numbers of other plans and systems—some his own particular fancy,
and some other people’s. He gluts over sporting news, and talks of
owners, trainers, and jockeys in a most familiar style, as though they
were his own personal friends! He becomes acquainted with horses’ names
and pedigrees, and eventually his mind is so full of Turf matters that
business, his occupation, and employment become of second importance; he
sacrifices home, comfort, occupation, and money—all! all! all! What for?
In the hope of easily making money, but in the end for the benefit of the
bookmakers. My experience is not an isolated one, but truthfully is that
of every well-known bookmaker on the Turf.

Betting is a fascinating vice, and it is perfectly astounding to what an
enormous extent it is rooted throughout the land. In every town, village,
hamlet, warehouse, office, and workshop in the kingdom you will find
the “backer” in thousands and thousands, all losing money—all in the
net of the bookmaker. Can you blame the bookmaker for carrying on his
money-making business? Why, every one’s answer is “Certainly not!”

Were the race meetings always to be held at the same place, the
bookies’ business would practically be “all up.” For why? The local
backers would soon all be “played out.” The very fact that the race
meetings are changed daily and are miles and miles apart is a veritable
god-send to the bookmaker, the trainer, the jockey, the owner, and the
dozens of others depending for existence on Turf matters. We thus get
daily hundreds, nay thousands, of new faces and fresh backers full of
excitement and hope, having “splendid tips” and “certainties,” all
ready and anxious to invest their cash with us, but, alas! the majority
of whom go home with long faces and empty pockets, whilst the bookmaker
and the “betting brigade” leave the scene of action with renewed energy,
high glee, and above all cash ammunition for a fresh attack at another

This glorious state of things goes on day by day and year by year,
particularly during the flat-racing season. Now, I think it is a bad
week if during flat racing I do not clear a hundred or so per day on
the average. Some days, but really very few indeed, I make a loss, but
on other days the coin rolls in all round, and the average is as I have
stated. I have made as much as £5000 in one day! How is that, eh? I am
wise enough, of course, to make my book to win, not to lose. Still, with
heaps of money in hand, with property here and there—with everything in
abundance that I and mine may require or could possibly wish for—with
grand country and town houses, with horses, carriages, every possible
luxury, every wish and desire gratified, living up to the greatest state
of expensive excitement every day (the bookie’s very existence compels
a constant round of amusement and excitement or we are nowhere), still,
mind you, I am not happy—sometimes far from it. Conscience will make
itself heard. True! true! age is telling on me as even it is telling on
many another bookie, and we cannot stifle the thought that the grave
is in sight, and our last race will soon be run. Often and often am I
troubled with thoughts of the past—memory will assert itself—and the
questions arise:—Have I led a fair and upright life? Have I got my
money and living in an upright, honourable manner? Have I not helped
to ruin hundreds of good silly fellows? Visions of them crop up from
time to time; I think of them with any but pleasant feelings. How many
poor foolish backers whose money I have taken—taken as a business, of
course—have lost homes, business, and all; whose wives and children have
been turned into the streets through the father’s passion for betting?
How many of them have found their way to gaol through betting, and how
many have sought self-destruction?

Such must be the occasional thoughts of all old bookmakers. And for
why? Because there is not one of us, past and present, who has not
over and over again obtained our money by questionable means, even if
our inclination was not to do so. We have been, and are compelled—yes,
compelled!—to participate in trickery and deceit to the detriment of
the backer; and so crops up the thought that the backers’ money in many
instances is not obtained honourably. These facts make one feel uneasy.
What does this mean? Why, I have in my time secretly paid away much money
as contributions to effect certain ends favourable to the bookmaker and
to the loss of the backers.

The “freemasonry” amongst certain people connected with racing matters
is very strong indeed. Pray let me be very plain in making myself clear.
I do not for a moment cast a slur upon or raise the slightest suspicion
upon the host of honourable men of high position and standing whose
names are identified with Turf matters. Certainly not; the reader’s
own common-sense and knowledge must be exercised. But amongst certain
actors at race meetings my accusation is levied. Indignantly denied! Of
course it will be. We are all upright and honest until discovered to be
otherwise. It is the being discovered that is so galling. I could relate
to you most startling facts upon these points—incredible, you would say;
scandalous, wholly unbelievable! Yet, my friends, true, true indeed! My
mouth, however, is so far absolutely sealed. Think yourself how very easy
such things could be arranged, and you will cease to marvel. Consider
for a moment that all the principal actors at a race meeting are all
personally known to each other—old chums, old acquaintances, travelling
the country together and enjoying themselves, and you will fail to
discredit the fact, viz. that it is so extremely easy to (as it is now
termed) “engineer a great coup.”

What is the real meaning of this pretty modern expression? Why, in plain
language, it is arranging “to win a race.” Listen! What think you? There
are very many unfairly run horse-races. Take this statement as gospel
from one who knows, but who _cannot_ divulge the secrets of the Turf.
Listen again. Betting is simply a speculative business, two parties to
a bet. Each tries to win the other’s money, and each party adopts the
best expedient to do so. We all know who _does_ win in the long run,
and I am penning this rigmarole to show, if possible, to the small
sportsman that the odds against him are so tremendous that it is next to
_impossible for him to win_—_I mean in the long run_—and I so write in
the hope of inducing him to “turn the game up” once and for ever, which
I am sure would save much frightful distress, save the wrecking of many
a home, prevent much trouble, and would be to the happiness of thousands
who now waste their hard-earned money in a wilful way and in impossible
successful speculation.

I am not writing as a moralist or a sentimentalist, but in a purely
business way; using common-sense to prove to misguided, foolish people
that to invest their money in backing horses is a stupid, unwise,
unbusiness-like mode of investing their cash, and is a way that means
absolute loss, if not ruin, simply because the _chances to win are so
great against them, and the odds against them so fearful, that success is
next to impossible_. To convince a backer that such is the case, I know,
is a most difficult task, and really for a bookmaker to do so seems a
paradox and a right-down absurdity, but it is not so. If the small backer
could be extinguished, the legitimate abused business of betting would be
much relieved from the stigma now cast upon it through the misdoings of
the small backer, who, in his hopeless task, runs himself into serious
difficulties and causes trouble all round. The removal of the small
sportsman would be of inestimable benefit, not only to himself (I want
him to look at the matter in that light), but to the straight respectable

Now with regard to the monied or larger sportsman. He it is who is the
friend of the bookie—the dear delightful investor whom the bookie so
much loves—the regular attendant in Tattersall’s enclosures and in the
members’ rings. Well, well, he can afford to lose, and is capable of
taking care of himself. The bookie does _not_ wish to lose him—oh dear
no, certainly not; so he encourages him all he can; he makes him presents
of nice morocco pocket-books, splendid purses, nicely bound S.P. diaries,
Christmas and New Year remembrances in various ways, treats him whenever
an opportunity occurs, and loves and plays with him whenever he can. Very
many of these beloved sportsmen are men who have made money in trade or
business—they are either in business still or are retired—who, having
saved a competency to live upon, somehow or other find their way, one
after the other, on to the race-course; they nearly always come into
Tattersall’s at the different meetings; they go the round of them, and
travel gaily from place to place; they get charmed with the free and open
life and excitement. They decide, as a rule, firstly, to risk so many
hundreds, but when it is gone they generally manage to find more money.
Hope! hope! These gentlemen sportsmen talk about their wins but not their
losses. Eventually, as usual, they “do _it_ (their money) all in,” then
they drop out one by one through want of money and, less often, through
being wise in time to prevent absolute ruin. So we miss their dear
delightful faces, but we keep their money.

We, the bookies, talk to each other about our said customers and
friends. “What about So-and-So—oh, he’s a retired draper. Mr.
So-and-So—oh, he’s a market gardener, got a fine business. Mr.
So-and-So—the retired grocer. Mr. So-and-So—what, the solicitor? Dr.
So-and-So—oh yes, the doctor. Mr. So-and-So—yes, the chemist,” and so
forth; then we always laugh, and the oft-reiterated remark takes place,
“Yes, he is doing it (his money) all in” (_losing it_).

    We laugh ha! ha! We laugh ho! ho! We laugh at their folly and

One by one we miss them, but sure as fate others turn up from time to
time, and so the merry game goes on day by day, month by month, and year
by year. Yes, the monied sportsman, the retired tradesman, the successful
business man combining trade with Turf speculation. Yes, yes, let them
be—they can take care of themselves. If they like to lose their coin,
well, let them—in fact, they are the bookie’s chief support, his pals,
his friends. True, they drop out as I have said, one by one, sooner or
later; but what matters, brother bookies? others always crop up in their
places, and so we have nothing to fear.

Again, let me say, that it is the impecunious and needy, and poor silly
fool of a backer who brings discredit upon the business, together
with the host of thieving, impecunious welshing fraternity who dare
call themselves bookmakers and Turf commission agents, who, fairly or
unfairly, cop or welsh the small backer of his money.

Now, to point out to the said backer more precisely the reasons _why_
and _how he cannot_ possibly win at backing horses, no matter what plan
or system he follows. Let me go a little more into these points, which
will or ought to convince him, or at any rate give him matter for serious
thought upon the subject.

In the first place, there is what is termed the “law of averages,” by
which the backer’s chances to win are for ever against him; that is to
say, in nearly every race there are a large number of horses running,
otherwise the races are termed non-betting races. Now you back one horse
out of say seven or eight running, thus you have at once six or seven
chances against your winning. Look how very greatly this works out
against the backer when larger numbers of horses are in the race—say 10,
15, 20, and even 30. You back one horse to win, so there are 9, 14, 19,
and 29 absolute chances against you, and so on. Never mind about the
favourites, the complete outsiders, and so on, there are (and there is
no mistake about it) so many absolute chances against your winning, and
of course on the other hand so many chances in favour of the bookmaker.
But! but! but! listen! ye deluded, cocksure backers! The law of averages
against you is nothing to be compared to other and far greater chances
against you. I had already written, explained, and set out a number
of them, but a newspaper correspondent has very thoughtfully and very
carefully embodied them, or some of them, together with others, in a
capital letter which appeared in the _Sun_ newspaper one September, and
I cannot do better than set them out. The _Sun_ has recently permitted
a public debate in its columns upon “Is Betting a Sin?” The debate by
correspondence has been most interesting. The religious element, of
course, dominated with silly arguments, and in so doing “forgot the
subject altogether,” whilst on the other hand many letters were strictly
to the point, were eye-openers, and logical. The result was announced
by the editor, who decided that “he would give it up,” _i.e._ the
correspondence compelled him to say that he could not say whether betting
was a sin or not. My candid opinion is that certainly “betting is not a
sin,” but I _tell you what_ it is, it is a pernicious and fascinating
vice of the worst kind, and is intimately connected with if not the
direct cause of the worst kind of various sins. However, more of this
anon. Now to give the letter referred to; it is as follows:—


    Sir—I do not profess to enter into the pro or con of this vital
    question, which is increasing in force and imperativeness with
    each succeeding year. But to those of your readers—and I fear
    they are greatly in the majority—who, in spite of experience,
    fondly believe that it is possible to make money by backing
    horses, I append a list of 22 chances against the backer in
    every race that is run.

        1. The regular percentage of odds, ranging from 2 to 1 up
        to 20 against one in every race. There can be only one

        2. The horse may be fit and capable of winning, but not

        3. “Wanted” by the owner, not “wanted” by the trainer.

        4. “Wanted” by owner and trainer, not “wanted” by the
        jockey, who has his money on another runner.

        5. Owner, trainer, or jockey in debt to a bookmaker. In
        either of these three cases the horse runs to suit the
        layer’s book, irrespective of the backer.

        6. Horse tried to be a certainty—money on. Something wrong
        with trial horse. All calculations upset. Again the backer

        7. Race lost by a bad start.

        8. Long delay under a hot sun. Horse irritable, nervous,
        wears himself out at the post.

        9. Some fractious brute who has no place out of a selling
        race kicks the “certainty” at the post.

        10. Jockey disobeys orders, and throws the race away, or
        goes to sleep.

        11. Tiny light weight, caught by steel-knit veteran, fails
        through weakness. More grist to the bookmaker.

        12. A lends B his best trial horse—say Bluebottle—to try
        Broomstick. Result of trial makes the race a good thing for
        Broomstick, but a still better thing for A’s old sprinter,
        Juggler, who has got in with a light weight. A quietly
        works a starting price job all over the country, and with
        Juggler just nips Broomstick on the post.

        13. Brown lends his crack jockey to ride Jones’s Malaprop,
        and price shortens. Brown’s money is probably on Gay
        Deceiver. Jockey obeys orders, and rides Malaprop in Gay
        Deceiver’s interest.

        14. Horse certain to win. Stable forestalled at the last
        moment. Jockey honest. No help for it. Give the colt a nice
        refreshing drink of water before the start.

        15. Everything lovely. Mount winning easily, when he
        stumbles and nearly comes down.

        16. Jockey makes his effort too late.

        17. Jockey secretly owner of horse, other than his mount,
        running in the same race.

        18. Short sprint. Bad draw for position extinguishes chance.

        19. Public back the favourite. Stable wins with outsider.
        See Dieudonne and Jeddah.

        20. Crowding at a turn. Jockey hopelessly shut in.

        21. Jockey skilfully shuts himself in. “Couldn’t get
        through, sir.”

        22. Horse knocked out of his stride by a cannon during the

    A famous trainer of the old school said, “I have been in this
    business through a long life; there is little that anybody can
    teach me in training. I can do all things in this world with a
    horse except—be inside him.”


What a splendid letter this is! How true indeed are the 22 reasons! What
thought each one gives to the backer if he is a sensible man and will
but think over them. How we bookies know full well the absolute truth of
them, as do also the jocks, trainers, and owners. We have referred in
conversation to the _Sun_ correspondence. What care we for it? It won’t
stop the fascinated backer. No fear; we persuade ourselves that nothing
will stop him except “running the length of his tether.”

It is almost amusing to read in the newspapers the excuses given by
the “Racing Prophets” for the predicted horses “not pulling it off.”
Almost daily you will find some of the above reasons given. I have just
picked up the _Daily Mail_. Racing at Nottingham is described as “an
unsatisfactory affair.” For whom? The bookmakers? Certainly not. For
whom then? Why, the backers of course. Then comes the usual and oft-told
excuses—amongst others—why such and such a horse did _not_ win, as

    _Excuse No. 1._—“The well-backed Shot Gun ... threw no
    resolution into his work.”

    _Excuse No. 2._—“Eileen Violet too ... ran a snatchy race

    _Excuse No. 3._—“Reminiscence having missed a race at Newmarket
    through the imprudence of her jockey in leaving off riding too
    soon, she yesterday, when heavily backed to square matters,
    had her chance entirely destroyed by the falling of Lady St.

    _Excuse No. 4._—“The Bestwood Nursery ... demonstrated how
    fluky was the victory of the Asteria Filly at Newmarket.”

The above are cuttings from one paper only—we get such excuses to “soothe
the backer” almost every day in one paper or another. In a case reported
in the _Daily Telegraph_, the judge of the Clerkenwell County Court made
this remark:—

    I don’t profess to be any authority on horse-racing, but I know
    it depends upon what the odds are and what the jockeys have
    been paid as to which horse wins. (Laughter.)

I guess that judge knows more about racing than he would wish us to

What is the impecunious backer? Why, a fool of the first order. A
fascinated idiot. A sharp, flat, and very often a thief, _i.e._ he
steals other people’s money in order to “put it on.” If the above cogent
reasons and facts won’t decide him to stop backing, then nothing will,
except ruin. Let him carefully think over all I have said. Let him think
over his own experience—that’s the thing. Has he made money at backing
horses? I mean, in the long run. How much has he lost? That’s the point;
let him ask himself the question.

The backer of horses, as a rule, takes to it as a business by which to
make money, as in every other business. Every business and profession
(for a master man at any rate) is a speculation. Betting is a business,
but a speculative and, I should say, the most speculative kind of
business there is. There is nothing wrong or sinful in betting. But it
is a business so very speculative, so very much against the backer,
that, as I hope I have proved, it is a fool’s game, and for business
considerations only it is best left alone.

In addition, however, to the reasons before set out, why the backing of
horses never will pay any one (let “the sportsman” be never so clever and
cunning), there are in addition other and more potent reasons of force.
Yes! forcible reasons why the _respectable_ person should not meddle with
it, at least, until the greatest reforms have taken place.

Look, for instance, at the class and character of those regularly
participating and taking part in betting pursuits and attending race
meetings. Think for a moment who and what the majority are. I advisedly
say the majority, and I wish to emphasise it. Ask the police; ask the
railway people; ask any one who has to come in contact with them. Betting
and the race meetings collect together huge assemblies of the lowest
and vilest scoundrels on earth—thieves, cheats, ruffians, highwaymen,
vagabonds, returned convicts, castaways, ne’er-do-wells, welshers,
card-sharpers, tricksters, foul-mouthed quadrupeds, villains, and the
worst form of humanity that it is possible to get together—many of them
superbly clothed and well dressed—all, all, in some way or other preying
upon the thousands upon thousands of the fools of backers in one way or
another. This is truth; deny it who can! Can any one name an attraction
that draws together one-tenth of this scum of the earth? No; we all
know it. Don’t let me be misunderstood, for goodness’ sake! I am not
inferring that all who attend race meetings are to be classed in the
above frightful category. Certainly not. We have the very best people—the
most respectable, the politest of persons, from the highest in the land
to the lowliest—in their thousands also; but I should say that for every
respectable person there are fifty otherwise.

Every decent sportsman will, I am sure, corroborate my remarks and join
me in protesting against the apathy that exists in not clearing the
race meetings of the human filth and vile scum and villainy that they
now attract. Every respectable bookmaker desires it, for he is a great
sufferer in consequence. He goes about in fear and trembling; he has
always to be on the alert against assault and robbery; he has to pay
heavy expenses to protect himself, and, above all, his occupation is
universally condemned by “society in general” (I mean by those who do not
enter into sporting matters) as a low, detestable one, and he is looked
upon as a doubtful character, as a pest to society, principally through
the doings of the army of scamps I have referred to. A respectable
bookmaker sees a welshing job going on—a downright robbery taking place.
He sees welshing in its various forms; he would like to expose it and
the parties taking part in it, but he positively cannot do so. He must
silently acquiesce; he must not on any account open his mouth, or—or
what? Why, his life would not be worth two penn’orth of cold gin, as the
saying goes.

“Yes,” you say, “how can all this be altered? What is the remedy? Tell
the Royal Commission now sitting and inquiring into this subject. They
will thank you!” Well, I will answer these questions simply and at once.

1. You must make every race meeting “a place,” and abolish betting there
as it is now openly carried on.

    NOTE.—The law as it at present stands is an absurdity. If it
    is illegal to bet in a house or street, it should be just as
    illegal to bet at a race meeting or elsewhere. Such a simple
    alteration of the law would at once sweep away much of the
    human filth, and be of inestimable benefit to the honourable
    bookmaker proper. There is no mistake about it; it must be done
    if the present awful state of affairs is to be done away with.

2. Betting you will never stop; but it can be controlled for the benefit
of the community at large, and so you must license the bookmaker. In so
doing you must not give a license to any one who thinks fit to apply
for one—such as an auctioneer gets his license, or a person keeping a
horse or dog gets his. No! no! no! The licensed bookmaker must be a
highly respectable man—never been in trouble; and he should be required
to deposit in Somerset House or some other Government place a sum of
money—say £500 or £1000—to prove his responsibility, which should
be attachable for any proved unpaid claim against him. The licensed
bookmaker should then be permitted to make bets on the race-course only.
His license should be subject to revocation for misconduct.

3. All bets should be in writing, or rather tickets should be given
similar to a pawnbroker’s way of doing business, and amounts due to
either party should be recoverable at law.

    NOTE.—The suggestions 2 and 3 would, I believe, positively
    abolish welshing: would be welcomed by all honourable
    sportsmen, and, above all, would positively purify the various
    race-courses, and put a permanent stop to the hundred and one
    forms of abused and nefarious betting which now are rampant
    throughout the land.

4. A law should be made abolishing clubs, or offices, or houses kept
by starting-price bookmakers; and it should be illegal to carry on a
betting business either personally, by letter, or by telegram, except on
a race-course by a duly licensed bookmaker.

    NOTE.—My brother bookies will open their eyes in abject
    astonishment at this suggestion, and all kinds of awful
    anathemas will be heaped upon my poor old anonymous noddle,
    quite unnecessarily and too soon, for they would soon see that
    such a step would be to their benefit. Again, be it observed,
    that unless betting is to be absolutely abolished altogether,
    the small sportsman, with the harpy, the welshers, and the
    villains, must be got rid of to make betting a respectable
    business, and to rid it for ever of the fearful and deserved
    disrepute that now surrounds it. Well, do away with the
    stay-at-home S.P. bookmaker, and there is the remedy! All good
    S.P. men can as well carry on their business at a race meeting
    as at home; and if they cannot—well, turn it up! Starting-price
    bookies are the great sinners with the small backer; it is
    with them that the workman, the clerk, the shopman, the small
    tradesman—to sum up, the impecunious backer, all go or do
    business with, and it is principally and mainly with them that
    the betting is done; it is they who foster small betting, and
    thus indirectly are the cause of nearly all the disrepute
    which hangs around betting revealed from time to time in the
    police courts and in other ways. Abolish the stay-at-home S.P.
    bookmaker, with clubs, his offices and houses, and the very
    greatest blessing will at once be conferred upon the bookmakers
    generally, and upon the community at large. It is positively
    astounding to think of the thousands of S.P. bookmakers—large
    and small—mostly small, miserable, moneyless beings, scattered
    all over the country everywhere; these are the men who do the
    business with the men and persons who have not the means to and
    certainly have no right to bet. Do away with this business, and
    the atmosphere will be enormously cleared.

5. Now something must be said about the newspapers, for they are
very great sinners in encouraging small betting. I am, however, more
particularly concerned about the small backer, the ruin he brings upon
himself and those connected with him, and the discredit he brings also
upon the legitimate betting business. The man who can attend the various
race meetings, and there can see for himself what is going on, the
number of the horses running in a race, the jockeys riding, and knows
the odds for and against, is, of course, in a far better position than
the stay-at-home backers, or in other words the “small sportsmen” who
have neither the means nor the knowledge to bet on horse-racing, and
simply do so almost in the dark, on mere chance, or mere newspaper tips,
naps, and advice written the day before the race. The morning halfpenny
papers, of course, get much of their information from the large daily
papers. “Morning betting” has been proved to be (as we of course know)
entirely fictitious, and so is much else referring to sporting matters
and supposed ante betting. The small stay-at-home sportsman absolutely
relies on newspaper recommendations, good or bad, to guide him, and so
if the publication of betting prices is prohibited, and also it be made
illegal to give “selections,” and to recommend any horse or horses to
bet upon, the “good thing of the day,” “to back it win and place,” and
the many other ways in which backing horses is publicly and openly and
in many cases suspiciously advised and recommended, is made illegal and
prohibited, such a step would be welcomed by the good bookmaker, would
cut away much nefarious doings, and would confer a lasting benefit on the
small backer in general, although possibly he might not at first see it.
There need not be anything to prevent the usual reports of race meetings,
including the betting thereat, with the starting prices and the usual
reports of horses entered for the various races, with their chances of
winning; that is all right enough, but it is the wanton and mischievous
system of “selections,” “naps,” and recommendations to bet that does the
harm to the small backer, and to racing in general.

Another matter is that “tipsters’” advertisements should be entirely
suppressed. Of course many of the large daily papers refuse them
altogether. Unfortunately, however, they are permitted in other papers.
How any person with a grain of sense can send coin to any of these
advertising tipsters is a marvel to me. Still they flourish on fools’
money. Read through the said advertisements and form your own opinion.
Let any sensible person put it to himself. If these tipsters are so sure,
why don’t they themselves back their predictions, and secure the easy
fortunes they advise others to get?

Turf commission agents’ and Turf accountants’ advertisements should also
seriously be revised. I am, of course, not condemning the well-known
firms doing business under the above designation, but for every safe,
respectable man there are many “wrong uns,” so the only plan seems to
be to seriously revise the advertisements, or reject them altogether.
Besides, every one knows that the descriptions are incorrect. What
is a Turf commission agent? What is a Turf accountant? Generally a
“starting-price bookmaker.” But such descriptions are also used by
suspicious persons having no genuine occupation of the kind, simply to
hide their identity. Thus my suggestion will be, I am sure, welcome to
the _bona fide_ firms.

The Jockey Club do not now settle betting disputes, nor do they openly
countenance “betting.” The races are _supposed_ to be run on the same
lines as athletic sports are conducted, viz. the prizes offered of
themselves are expected to be of sufficient value to induce owners of
horses to compete. Oh, what a big farce! Of course, many of the wealthy
owners keep race-horses solely for the sport and honour of winning races,
and do not care a fig for betting, whilst of course, on the other hand,
a vast number of owners of horses look to betting as the means to recoup
their heavy expenses, and to “win a bit” besides—in many instances
vainly so—for it is admitted all round that owning race-horses is a very
expensive sport, and can only be indulged in by persons having “lots of
coin.” It is, however, quite impossible to disassociate horse-racing from
betting. Stop the betting at race meetings—give prizes only—and what
would be the inevitable result? Why, the race meetings would almost cease
to take place.

Now, to all interested in a business way with racing, viz. the
race-course company, the trainer, the jockey, the bookmaker proper,
the newspaper proprietor, and many others, it must be apparent, that
unless something soon takes place, legally, to “clear the course,”
and to prevent betting by small impecunious backers, that an Act of
Parliament will be passed to stop betting on horse-racing altogether.
Make no mistake, it will assuredly come, unless the small sportsman who
has no means to speculate in betting is got rid of. It is the small
backer who really has caused and is causing all the mischief. It is he
who supports the host of vagabonds and thieves I have referred to, and
so, in conclusion, I sincerely hope and trust that all my respectable
brother bookies will take all I have said in good meaning, and as being
written for the best. Let them unite with me to bring about the reforms
hinted at in this scribble. I have pointed out, I think, clearly to the
small backer that in backing horses he can but lose his money. Let the
thousands of them all over the country seriously consider, with common
sense, the remarks I have made, then I am certain that they will “turn
up the game.” Leave betting to those with money to rashly speculate, and
then the small, petty sportsman will do himself a good turn, and would
very much oblige the legitimate bookmakers, who would then cease to
designate him “The Deluded Sportsman.”

Finally, I am egotistical enough to say that if the alterations and
reforms I have sketched out above are resorted to, that the Turf scandals
which so frequently take place would not and could not arise.



The devotees of the Goddess of Fortune are found in all societies, from
the Kaffir tribe to the sensuous coteries of our own civilisation. The
moment of uncertainty which lapses between the casting of the dice
and the discovery of the result, between the dealing of the cards and
the examination of the hand, between the starting of the ball and its
settlement in a pocket, is an alluring experience which rules conduct in
proportion to the weakness of the moral character and the disorganisation
of the intellectual life. The unknown must always have a fascination
for men, and that fascination, centred on trivial things and joined
with cupidity, marks the low state of intelligence and morals in which
gambling flourishes.


Almost every observer to-day agrees that betting has reached colossal
proportions and is still increasing. At the street corner, in the
newsagent’s and tobacconist’s shop, in the barber’s saloon, in the club,
in the public-house, in the factory, the bookmaker or his agent is ready
to receive the money of men, women, and children, and victims of the
habit are at hand to lead astray the novices still uninitiated in the
worship of the seductive goddess.

The chief characteristic of the present outburst of the gambling habit
is that it is becoming a class disease. People of experience seem to be
pretty much agreed that those living on the marginal line of poverty and
those on the marginal line of respectability are specially liable to fall
victims to the habit. Both of these classes have in common a feeling
that their lives are profoundly unsatisfactory. The dreary drudgery of
the life of a wage-earner who oscillates between 15s. and 25s. a week,
with an occasional turn of nothing at all; the unsatisfied craving in the
life of a man too proud to take his place amongst the working classes but
too poor and despised to be received in professional ranks—can only lead
astray those doomed to them.

To both of these marginal groups the mental excitement and pecuniary
allurements of “trying their luck” are almost irresistible, and, though
they join in nothing else and in every other respect are poles asunder,
they go together to throw their coppers before Fortuna lest haply she may
return them favours an hundredfold.

That, I take it, is the most significant feature of the present spread
of gambling. It is the evidence of social failure showing itself in
the conduct of social groups or classes. It therefore flourishes with
other disquieting symptoms, such as the inordinate love of spectacular
effect, the demand for mere amusement, the distaste for serious and
strenuous effort, the spread of drunkenness—all pointing to a poverty
of personality, a bareness of the inner chambers of the mind, occurring
in such a way as to indicate that we are faced not merely with the
moral breakdown of isolated individuals but with the results of a
serious failure on the part of society. We have to deal not merely with
individual lapses but with a social disease. From that point of view this
paper is written.

Much has been written upon the gambling motive, and I am not sure
that the final word has yet been said upon it. Certainly the simple
explanations of it as a “sin” do not meet the facts of the case. Avarice
does not explain it, because the avaricious do not risk fortunes on the
turn of a wheel or the tip of a stableman. And yet avarice enters into
the gambler’s character. The pleasure of possessing does not explain
it, because if every gambler were to be made as rich as Crœsus he would
gamble the more. I am inclined to believe that the workman gambles
to charm _ennui_ away from his doorstep, and having begun he goes on
partly in the hope that he will recoup himself for his losses, partly to
continue keeping _ennui_ away. Roughly, the same motives influence the
other gambling class—the clerks and the other wage receivers who would
fain believe that they are paid “salaries.”[2]

But the particular character of the disease which is bred by the social
circumstances of these classes is determined by the law of imitation. As
we used to imitate Milan in our millinery and Paris in our dresses, so
for our habits there is a class to which we look. If those habits are
of the nature of luxuries, we borrow and adapt them from the luxurious
classes, and having thus become indebted to these classes we associate
our wellbeing with theirs. A parasitic feeling is engendered, and this
feeling in turn strengthens the original motive which started us upon our
imitative course. Thus we move downwards in a vicious spiral. We must
therefore trace the vigour of the present gambling disease not merely
to the failure of society to satisfy the appetite for _life_ gnawing
unsatisfied at the hearts of whole classes, but to the active existence
elsewhere in the same community of sections of idle rich.

Gambling is a disease which spreads downwards to the industrious poor
from the idle rich. In its most common form, betting on horse-racing, it
is the only way in which the outcast plebeians can be joined with their
betters in a bond of freemasonry. An elevating knowledge of distinguished
jockeys and an exhilarating acquaintance with the pedigree of horses
raise the poor parasite to the level of the rich one and make them both
men and brothers. One has to go to some famous horse-racing event to
appreciate fully the meaning and the force of this.

Consequently, we should expect theoretically to find the gambling habit
amongst the poor break out into chronic virulence at a time when the idle
rich had received some sudden accession in strength, and when they were
blazing forth into a new brilliance of vicious habit. Is not that the
case to-day? Did not the serious spread of gambling downwards coincide
with a renewal of the splendours of our non-productive, luxurious rich?

Within recent years this class has undoubtedly increased in power, and
with that, as has always happened in history, its morals have been
degraded. Those who ought to know tell us that not since the days when
Brooke’s was in its glory and Frederick was waiting with impatient
anxiety for the death of his demented parent, George III., was gambling
so prevalent and personal vice so common in society as it is to-day. I
have heard on most excellent authority of several thousands of pounds
changing hands during an after-dinner game of bridge, at a house which
was not the haunt of prodigals, and amongst people who would be insulted
if they were called gamblers; certain circles of men and women not very
far removed from the centre of political life, who a few years ago spent
their spare energies in investigating the mysteries of theosophy and
dabbling in the weird, have now turned with absorbing interest to the
ubiquitous card game, and guests who do not join in the gamble—often the
swindle—find themselves unprotected by the manners which held a guest as

The sudden flood of easily gotten wealth which came mainly as a result
of the exploitation of South Africa, and also partly in consequence
of the financier acquiring control of trade by the development of the
large over-capitalised syndicate, has not only created a new Park Lane,
a _nouveau riche_ and therefore a vulgar one, but has brought in its
train a low personal and social morality, and has created in our society
purple patches of decadence which can be placed alongside the rotting
luxuriance of the Roman Empire. It was so in France when Law’s financial
schemes set everybody dreaming of an age of gold and paper money; it was
so with ourselves when the South Sea Bubble was being blown up; it will
always be so under like circumstances. The influence spreads from one end
of society to the other. It colours our newspapers. The tinsel spectacle
excites the imagination of the common man or woman. Our charities and
philanthropies hang upon the trains of luxurious vulgarity.[4] In a
subtle way the grossness at the top percolates through to the bottom,
and the plebeian in his own special heavy-footed style dances to the
same sensuous tune to which the feet of his betters are more daintily
tripping. From the vicious social conditions at the top the gambling
impulse finds its way to the bottom. Imitation of the upper classes, even
in the most democratic of societies,—and ours is far from that,—continues
to have an important influence in the life of the people. Such is the
origin of the disease. We must now consider some of its effects.


If gambling comes from a poisoned source, it poisons the life with
which it is in touch. Other writers in this volume are dealing with the
personal and family disasters for which it is responsible. I confine
my attention to its influence upon citizenship, upon the persons upon
whose intelligence and character rests the fabric of the State and the

The gambling disease is marked by a moral and intellectual unsettlement,
by an impatience with the slow processes of legitimate accumulation, by
a revolt against the discipline of steady growth and sustained action.
The gambler lives in a state of unnatural strain. Like an insane person,
he stands on the threshold of a grandiose world the high lights of
which throw the sober realities of the real into shadow. Moreover, his
vice develops the self-regarding instincts into hideous and criminal
proportions. What is all this but saying that it cuts away the roots of
good citizenship. For good citizenship depends upon a moral discipline
which enables a man to pursue, undisturbed by outward event, calm amidst
storms of fortune, some desirable social end; it is dependent upon the
development of the social conscience in the individual; it flourishes
only when men seek after the more solid gains which come from honest work
and faithful endeavour. The people to whom the gains of life are but
the prize-winnings of a game of hazard, who flock to spectacles, whose
sports consist of looking on whilst professionals display their prowess,
are but decaying props of State.

Individualists would make us believe that citizenship is not part of
personality, for otherwise their antithesis of man _versus_ the State
would be inconceivable. But the antithesis is purely verbal, and does
not in reality exist. Man’s personality is complex, but it is a unit;
his public and private actions may be many sided, and for a time may
spring from opposing moral sources, but in the end their exercise blends
the opposing sources and changes the individuality. For instance, no
people can rule itself democratically at home and govern other peoples
autocratically abroad. The home democracy in time becomes tainted. The
moral sources of one system become blended with the polluted sources of
the other. And so it is with the character of the man and the citizen.
The citizen cannot act contrary to the man.

One need hardly trouble to appeal to history to prove these statements.
A parallel between our present state of society, rotting with luxury and
intoxicated with excitement, and the Roman Empire in the days of its
decline is on every moralist’s lips and is becoming hackneyed. Philip
of Macedon, it is said, encouraged gambling amongst the Greeks, on the
ground that it corrupted their minds and made them docile under his
rule. From time to time in our own country the gambling mania has become
chronic, the last of these outbursts being about a century ago, when
Brooke’s and White’s stripped their foolish victims, and when the flick
of cards was heard throughout the abodes of fashion. Of that time Sir
George Trevelyan writes:—

    The political world, then as always, was no better than the
    individuals who composed it. Private vices were reflected in
    the conduct of public affairs; and the English people suffered,
    and suffers still, because, at a great crisis in our history, a
    large proportion among our rulers and councillors had been too
    dissolute and prodigal to be able to afford a conscience.[5]

The gamblers were in power. There was plenty of party but little
politics, and what politics there was was largely an art of recouping
gaming losses from the public purse. Public life was saved only by the
political overthrow of the gambling aristocracy. Fox, possessing though
he did a genius which could throw off the taint of his circumstances,
failed mainly owing to his lack of steadiness, dignity, prudence, and
industry,[6] and these were precisely the deficiencies which his gambling
habits would accentuate. They are the moral and intellectual results of
gambling, and follow it as inevitably as gout follows wine-bibbing.

Those of us who fail to see any road leading to a desirable state of
society save the political one, those who still believe that democracy
is the only form of government under which men can enjoy the blessings
of full citizenship, those who consider that in spite of the likes or
dislikes of ruling classes government tends to depend more and more
upon the sanction of the common people and thus becomes an ever more
accurate reflection of their character, can view only with alarm the
rapid spread of gambling habits amongst the masses. Where these habits
prevail the newspaper, which should be the guide of the citizen, is read
not for its politics but for its tips, for the racing news printed in
the “fudge,” not for the subjects it discusses in its leader columns,
and so is degraded to being the organ of the bookmaker. This does not
merely mean an extension of its sporting columns, but a revolution in its
tone and its staff, in response to what really becomes a revolution in
its functions. Men who are too weary to think, too overworked to attend
political meetings or take positions of responsibility in their trade
unions, can nevertheless speak authoritatively about the pedigree of an
obscure horse and the record of a second-rate footballer.

This, like all other backward steps to a lower stage of moral effort, is
easy. For social conduct is the inheritance of complicated experiences,
retained only by sleepless vigilance, and exercised by the subordination
of the individual will to the social conscience. It is therefore
comparable to those high forms of chemical compounds built up of many
atoms but exceedingly unstable. The simple presence of a disturbing
element shatters the compound and reduces it to its primitive atoms.
Man’s self-regarding and primitive instincts are constantly threatening
to disjoint his social character and defeat all movements depending upon
that character for their success. To hope, for instance, that a labour
party can be built up in a population quivering from an indulgence in
games of hazard is folly. Such a population cannot be organised for
sustained political effort, cannot be depended upon for legal support
to its political champions, cannot respond to appeals to its rational
imagination. Its hazards absorb so much of its leisure; they lead it away
from thoughts of social righteousness; they destroy in it the sense of
social service; they create in it a state of mind which believes in fate,
luck, the irrational, the erratic; they dazzle its eyes with flashing
hopes; they make it, in other words, absolutely incapable of taking an
interest in the methods and the aims of reforming politicians. They lay
it open to the seductions of the demagogue, to the blandishments of the
hail-fellow-well-met type of candidate, to the inducements of the common
briber, to the flashy clap-trap of the vulgar and the ignorant charlatan.
And the discovery that such classes exist in the community will very
soon be made, and the whole tone of public life lowered to suit their
tastes. It is not without serious significance that in recent elections
one of the most common forms of argument (sometimes used by both sides)
has been an offer by the candidates to back up statements they had made
by sums of money. “It is not so much,” says Loria, the eminent Italian
sociologist, “the personality of the elected as the character of the
class which elects that really counts.” I do not say that this is to lead
to rapid and irretrievable ruin. Rome bore the burden of a luxurious and
gambling class of citizens for centuries. But I do say that the spread of
the gambling habit is one of the most disquieting events of the time for
those particularly who believe in self-government and in an intelligent
democracy using its political power to secure moral and social ends.
Every labour leader I know recognises the gambling spirit as a menace to
any form of labour party.


I have, finally, to consider what good citizenship has to say to
gambling, and how it proposes to deal with the matter.

We must remember that this, like so many other vices, is only a degraded
and degrading form of expressing a natural human need. Indulgence
in gambling is universal in primitive society, where it is closely
associated with religion, and at no time is it absent from the larger and
more absorbing transactions of civilised life. It is intimately connected
with the dominating type of will and the unflinching determination of men
to control. The gigantic strides which the United States have made in
industry have been possible only because the Americans have not flinched
in facing enormous hazards. This spirit finds apt expression in the
verse of that romantic embodiment of the love of hazard, the Marquis of

    He either fears his fate too much,
      Or his deserts are small,
    Who does not put it to the touch,
      Or gain or lose it all.

In the evolution of the race an important part has no doubt been played
by the men and the communities whose self-confidence was sufficiently
strong to enable them to make large drafts upon the unknown. Abnormally
and respectably—as in the form of genius—this spirit gives us “the man of
destiny”; abnormally but not respectably—as in the form of burglary—this
spirit gives us the high criminal. Normally, properly controlled and
toned, it gives us the successful man of business, the leader and
inspirer of men. This playing with the unknown in the faith that the
fates are favourably disposed has undoubtedly been, and is still to be,
a very important spur to energy, and one of the determining factors in
national survivals in the future. Indeed, it is inseparable from human
nature. Men will not tolerate a uniform drudgery, they will not live in a
world which is nothing but a featureless expanse. And this intellectual
appetite for risk, for projecting one’s self on to the silent stream of
fate upon which the barque of life mysteriously floats, must be satisfied
either legitimately or illegitimately, either in accordance with sound
morals or in the teeth of sound morals. The latter will be the case if
we condemn, as we do now, large sections of our population to conditions
of life from which their intellectual nature can get no satisfaction.
The appetites of that nature will not die away. Its functions will
not atrophy and degenerate. It will simply accommodate itself to its
circumstances. If it cannot command the food of the gods, it will fill
its belly with the husks which the swine do eat, and find a troubled
satisfaction in its degradation. “To be confined in the dark, or without
occupation, is to be made the victim of subjective tedium,” says Bain.[7]
We have confined our people in the dark, and they are gambling to break
the tedium.

Consequently, when we consider the responsibilities of citizenship for
the spread of the gambling disease with a view to devising some cure, we
shall have to begin by assuming that prohibitive Acts will not carry us
very far. We can stop bookmakers or their agents receiving bets in the
public streets or any public place; we can turn them off race-courses and
refuse to recognise any enclosure as sanctuary. We can even go further,
and prosecute any one who receives from another betting payments on any
event whatever. This last would be going very far—too far, perhaps, to be
practical. But at any rate we could prohibit the receipt of money from
children. We could also stop the publication of betting news, and our
Post Office could refuse to transmit circulars encouraging the gambling
appetite.[8] We might even combat successfully the much more difficult
problem of how to prohibit gambling at church and chapel bazaars. But,
when we have done all that, we have not gone very far. We have simply
restored life to its old, dull, monotonous drab, and we have turned the
natural instincts which the gambling habit satisfies from feeding at
one trough to find husks in another. To the great mass of the people we
shall but appear to be smug Pharisees, and a reaction will set in which
in its aggressive strength will play much greater havoc than even the
steady growth of the disease before it was challenged. Time after time
the failure of the reform campaigns of outraged respectability in America
has taught this simple lesson in moral politics. One cannot devastate and
then say, “Behold the good!” The gambling habit must be elbowed out, not
stamped out.

I would be exceeding the purposes and limits of this paper did I attempt
to sketch a programme of reforms which in my opinion would do the
elbowing. I can only indicate the skeleton of such a programme, and I do
so, not so much to urge my readers to accept it, as to emphasise that the
attack upon the gambling habit can be successful only if it is positive
and constructive, and not merely negative and prohibitory.

When we try to get to the root of our social vices of to-day we
ultimately find ourselves contemplating the sad effects of the steady
stream of population away from the green meadows on to the grey
pavements. Overcrowding in the towns and dilapidation in the villages
are the result. At best, under existing conditions there must always be
a fringe of our city population living from hand to mouth, contracting
the character of the casual and the loafer. But this fringe is made
much broader by the present urban immigration; the tarnished threads in
it are of finer quality than they would be otherwise, and the original
excellence of some of its stuff makes it all the more prone to vices of
certain kinds. The problem which good citizenship has to solve then, it
seems to me, is twofold. It has to discover how people can be induced to
stay on the land, and how, in towns, they can be provided with proper
surroundings. The only hope of a rural population in England is the
spread of intensive cultivation and of co-operative agriculture,[9]
and that again can hardly become general until our present system of
landlordism is broken up and public authorities own the land and let it
to suit the convenience of cultivators.

The town problems must be solved by a combination of public and private
associated effort. We must give up all hope of private owners being able
to supply decent houses at reasonable rents. The municipality should
become the sole housing authority within its own area, and where it
spreads out its arms of tramways beyond its own boundaries it should be
able to develop building estates on its lines of communication. With a
housing and tram policy should be combined a recreation policy, for it is
the lack of recreation in modern city life which leads to so many vicious
indulgences. Parks, music, museums, libraries, hardly touch the needs of
the workman no longer on the sunny side of thirty-five, wearied after a
day’s work. The public-house or the workman’s club is his resort.

Here we come to the centre of our difficulty. We cannot meet the needs
of the average workman who is not a teetotaller unless we place the
public-house under public control. This seems to me to be the first step,
not only towards national temperance, but towards the provision of that
rational amusement which is to protect our industrial population from
vicious allurements.[10]

But when all these facilities for an intellectual life have been
provided, they will be in danger of being neglected unless the people who
are supposed to benefit by them are led to pursue worthy human ideals.
The appreciation of the worthy is an inward quality. Here we come to the
saving grace of political convictions, the purifying effect of citizen
ideals. An immunity from anti-social indulgences depends upon the general
diffusion through society of an active desire for social improvement by
democratic means. This acts in two ways. It first of all quickens the
social conscience and the moral pride of the common man, and it also
safeguards him from imitating the vices of the worthless upper classes,
which, without the opposition of a strong democratic spirit, become the
models for the recreation and amusement of the masses.

Hence, turning once more for a moment to consider the causes which have
led to the present slackening of moral fibre, I find one of the most
important to be the loss of the democratic fervour which characterised
the people during about three-quarters of the nineteenth century. The
people have lost taste for politics. The generous enthusiasms of 1848
are criticised by the aged youth of our schools to-day as having been
over-sentimental and mere dreams. At any rate, they gave us sound
literature—Tait’s _Edinburgh Magazine_, Chambers’s _Papers for the
People_, Cassell’s _Popular Educator_; they laid the foundations of a
most important part of democratic education in the Mechanics’ Institutes;
they gave birth to a self-reliant generation of working men. Until
citizenship, radiantly setting out towards the splendour of a perfected
humanity, attended by a train of the beatitudes which the heart and mind
of man have been ever seeking, commands the allegiance and the services
of our people, the crowd, obedient to the necessity to worship imposed
upon it by its nature, will bow to false gods; and men, obedient to their
intellectual promptings to dally occasionally in the temple of Fortuna,
will do so in the gross, the only, way which is at present possible for



When the intelligent public has become convinced of the existence of a
great social evil, it wants to know, in the first place, what laws are in
existence which can be applied in remedy of it, and what amendments of
the law are needed.

The text-books upon the present laws, through no fault of their authors,
are somewhat obsolete, owing to recent not altogether consistent
decisions of the Courts, although _Law Relating to Betting_, by G. H.
Stutfield, and _Law of Gambling_ (Coldridge and Hawksford), contain
much valuable information. The following summary is intended to present
a skeleton view of the legal position at this date, and for sake of
convenience the subject is divided under the two heads of Miscellaneous
Gambling and Betting. Whichever portion of the subject is treated, it
will be observed that the laws are both inadequate and not fully applied.

Miscellaneous gambling must be subdivided into (M) all kinds of
individual gaming unconnected with trade; (N) gambling in the stock,
produce, and other markets.


M. _Individual Gaming unconnected with Trade_

    (_a_) Illegal Games.
    (_b_) Card Playing.
    (_c_) Playing with Gaming-Machines.
    (_d_) Lotteries and Sweepstakes.
    (_e_) Press Competitions and Coupon Gambling.
    (_f_) Gambling Clubs.
    (_g_) Petty Gambling.

_(a) Illegal Games; (b) Card Playing._—The old-time absurdity of making
certain games illegal, because they were the ones chiefly used as
vehicles for gambling and left little room for skill, seems to have
resulted in throwing upon the Courts the difficult task of deciding what
other games come near enough to this class to share their disabilities,
and to have culminated in shaping the law in a direction very unfortunate
for public morality, so as to present a modicum of skill as a sufficient
leaven to create immunity for a very large element of chance. The
gambler avoids, as a rule, the named illegal games and turns to others.
Blackstone remarks upon his infinite shifts and the varieties of his
expedients, so that to pass laws especially applying to some games only
merely drives him into other courses.

The true principle is that no game in itself is illegal, but that the
gambling upon it may be. While the present laws make special regulations
and enforce specific penalties upon certain games, others which may
easily be as noxious cannot be dealt with. Consequently we have spasmodic
and partial attempts to enforce the law, and a series of enigmatic and
conflicting decisions in the Courts, resulting in a chaotic state of
affairs in which little check is put upon gamblers.

_(c) Playing with Gaming-Machines._—Notwithstanding that roulette is an
illegal lottery, it is an unhappy fact that of late years it has been
much more played than formerly. An inspection of tradesmen’s catalogues,
and a glance round the departments at the stores, tends to confirm the
impression that it and like games are becoming much more common. A member
of the Bar who many years ago took the silk gown, and who was known to be
averse to gambling, although going a good deal into society, has noticed
how often the green cloth appears not long after dinner, sometimes after
a postponement until he and those of like mind are about to leave. Its
public use may have been put down, but in private houses and in clubs
the roulette-table has multiplied its numbers. Here again, in connection
with gaming-machines, corruption has spread and gone lower down. The
automatic machines, at first used for the sale of sweetmeats, have been
altered so as to be made the vehicles of gambling amongst the poorer
classes, and especially children. They have already done irretrievable
harm. Investigating the subject in the East End of London, the writer of
these lines was told by a responsible person that they had taken such a
hold upon the young that, while in classes of poor boys comparatively
little difficulty was found in obtaining pledges not to drink and smoke,
much reluctance has been evinced with regard to promises to give up petty
gambling. Upon one occasion a bright boy flatly declined to add such a
pledge to others, saying that he could not give up the excitement of
using his coppers in this way. Most of the police prosecutions have been
successful, and fines have been imposed under sec. 44 of the Police Act;
while the machines were without hesitation pronounced to be illegal upon
licensed premises. It may be hoped that the latest decision in _Fielding_
v. _Turner_ in the Divisional Court will go far towards stopping their
use for gambling, now that they can be confiscated. So serious a matter
had they become that the Home Secretary has promised to strengthen the
law if need be. But the eagerness with which the temptation they offer
has been responded to by the poorest of children should be a warning to
the authorities against the old looseness of interpretation in the matter
of laws against gambling. For children, at least, the old nonsense about
skill and chance should be entirely swept away, and severe penalties
enforced against all those who tempt the young in this manner. If not,
the growing generation will be worse in gambling than the present one,
and instead of a nation with a large minority devoted to the vice, it
will develop into a general habit in which the majority are involved in
one form or another.

_(d) Lotteries and Sweepstakes._—Lotteries are matters of pure chance,
which have been gradually restricted by a long series of statutory
enactments; and in 1823 the last form, that of the public lottery, was
abolished, the sole remaining exception being the ones connected with
Art Unions, which have since been discontinued. Lotteries were found to
be debauching the public and affording opportunities for fraud, but have
not been wholly got rid of, as they are still carried on in connection
with charity bazaars and in the form of sweepstakes, chiefly held upon
horse-races. These latter, when subscribed privately and in clubs, are
winked at by the authorities, but fitful prosecutions against publicans
and others are heard of from time to time. Bazaar raffles, “fish-ponds,”
etc., are no less illegal lotteries than sweepstakes under the Lottery
Acts; they come within the provisions of 12 Geo. II. c. 28. It has,
unfortunately, become customary for the authorities to take no action
when raffles are held for charitable purposes, but all the churches of
late years have been condemning the practice, and it is coming to be
looked upon as a disreputable one, so that the law might now be enforced
without any serious conflict with popular sentiment. It should be enough
for clergy and ministers, however, to know that in the strict eye of the
law those who have anything to do with bazaar raffles are rogues and
vagabonds, if this is necessary to supplement the consideration that
true religion must lose more than it gains by proceedings which have
frequently involved the first step taken by the young in the paths of
hazard, and led them into a career marred by misery if not crime. The
existing statutes do not give the Post Office authorities sufficient
powers for the detection and destruction of lottery matter; and the
protection of newspapers advertising lotteries by 8 & 9 Vict. c. 74,
making the fiat of the Attorney-General necessary for prosecutions, is
considerably abused.

_(e) Press Competitions and Coupon Gambling._—This is a most serious
branch of the evil, for which the press is very largely responsible.
Its grossest manifestation occurred some years ago in connection with
horse-racing and football playing. Unfortunately, some years prior to
this, in 1895, a judgment in _Stoddart_ v. _Sagar_, the scope of which
was mistaken by the public authorities, was held to rule the pernicious
system outside of both the Lottery Acts and of the Betting House Act
of 1853, and the question was neglected, with the consequence that the
system grew to such an extent that in the year 1900 it was brought
prominently before the council of the National Anti-Gambling League. Upon
investigation they found, amongst other flagrant instances, the case of
an obscure so-called sporting paper, the circulation of which had been
raised by means of these coupons to 100,000 a week. At the trial of the
proprietor, evidence was given on behalf of the General Post Office that
the letters with remittances were so numerous as to necessitate a special
delivery amounting to 20 sacks weekly. By evidence given by the London
and Westminster Bank it was shown that £63,680 was paid in to the account
of these valued customers in the first six months of 1900; and the prizes
paid away to successful gambling competitors had risen from over £10,000
in 1897 to over £27,000 in 1898; over £47,000 in 1899; and to September
only of 1900, to £46,000. It was not merely a penny or a shilling gamble,
as any number of penny lines could be filled in in the coupon, and any
number of coupons could be used by the same person, special directions
being published in the paper to save those competitors trouble who were
dealing in a large number, so that hundreds of pounds could be arranged
for in a few minutes, and cheques remitted. The receipts of this one
establishment in postal orders, etc., were shown to amount to £2000 to
£3000 a week. The prize for the Lincoln Handicap of 1900 was £3000. The
Courts unanimously decided that these coupon schemes came within the
scope of the Betting House Act of 1853. This was confirmed in later
cases in the King’s Bench Division and Appeal Court, and the judgments
incidentally comprised the most valuable decision, _that deposits to
betting-houses were none the less such if received indirectly, and not
at the premises_. One loophole was left. The 1853 Act may not apply to
betting-houses abroad. The proprietors moved their offices across the
Channel, continuing their advertisements in the low sporting papers,
and these were even admitted to otherwise respectable prints, tempted
presumably by the higher rates shown in Court to be paid for this class
of advertisement. An attempt was subsequently made in prosecuting _The
Sportsman_ to put a stop to this, but the King’s Bench Division held
that section 7 of the 1853 Act relating to advertising could not be
considered to cover these advertisements, although the judges expressed
their regret, and the Lord Chief Justice laid stress in his judgment upon
the necessity for legislation.

As matters stand there are two difficulties, viz. (1) betting-houses
abroad (they are generally kept by British bookmakers who have moved
across the Channel) are probably outside the scope of the 1853 Act,
although their business is done by attracting the custom of the British
public by advertisements in our newspapers and receiving bet deposits
through our Post Office; and (2) the advertisements in question are so
worded as to evade the precise terms of section 7 of the 1853 Act, so
that the conniving newspapers cannot be punished. The consequence is
that the nefarious business is carried on from offices abroad, and will
be until stopped by a new Act. Cheating by the proprietors was common
enough at the offices in the United Kingdom, but has greatly increased
now that they are more out of the reach of their dupes, and some of them
are being prosecuted by the police for fraud, for which extradition
can be obtained, at the present time. This, however, will not stop the
gullible public from sending their postal orders in myriads to other
establishments; and its not being a criminal offence to publish in
British newspapers, etc., advertisements of foreign betting-houses is one
of the defects of existing legislation.

In addition to the above, however, organs of our low-class press,
and other journals which might be expected to maintain some ethical
standard, have been competing with each other in offering so-called
prizes, frequently of high value, for all sorts of competitions, some
depending much upon chance, and others cleverly disguised; the latter,
unfortunately, penetrating to homes where the very thought of betting
would be a scandal. Much demoralisation has been caused by the system,
and the laws are inadequate to deal with many of its subterfuges.

The Government of France has set an example to ours of prompt action,
although the evil there is an infant one as compared with ours, out of
which indeed it has arisen, thus adding one more to the responsibilities
of our nation for its gambling laxity. The occasion which aroused the ire
of the authorities of our neighbours was the distribution by _Le Petit
Parisien_ of £24,000 in prizes for guessing the number of grains in a
certain-sized bottle of wheat. The excitement was such that in ten days
the circulation of the paper more than doubled, and special shops were
opened in Paris and other large towns for the sale of bottles resembling
the sealed one in question.

_(f) Gambling Clubs._—Habitual gambling in the social clubs of wealthy
Englishmen has led to a very anomalous state of the law and of its
application. It is not worth while to go further back than the case
of _Downes_ v. _Johnson_ (Albert Club) to illustrate this. There was
no serious dispute as to this not being a betting club, or that the
purpose of its existence was not betting. No reasonable person could for
a moment doubt that if betting were stopped the club would collapse,
and the police authorities in 1895 made an attempt to bring about this
result. They had good reason for knowing the evil arising from it.
That provisions could be obtained, and were consumed in considerable
quantities, was shown; but any serious contention that such a club was a
social club would be dispelled by a visit to the premises, in an obscure
court turning out of Fleet Street. The judges, however, appeared to be
hampered by a desire to shield private betting, and the judgment remains
the charter for organised house betting under the protection of the
name of club. There are several other such large institutions in London
and elsewhere (besides innumerable smaller ones), the chief of those in
the metropolis being notorious gambling centres, where settling day is
carried on in the same business-like way as on the Stock Exchange. They
all owe their continued existence to the reluctance of the Courts and
Parliament to deal with the card and Turf gambling which goes on at the
well-to-do clubs, and thousands of gambling centres all over the country
are shielded by this unhappy partiality.

The above decision may be said to have broken up any efficiency of
existing legislation, and so pernicious has its effect been that a very
modest attempt to reduce the number of the poorer class institutions
was at last introduced as a makeshift in the Licensing Act for the
registration of clubs, which came into force on January 1, 1903. It is
true that it only applies to clubs selling liquor, but as betting men
are almost invariably drinkers it is probably comprehensive in this
sense. Its inefficiency was illustrated last May by a decision of Mr.
Justice Bucknill, by no means a lover of betting men, who presumably
considers himself bound by former decisions. The judge must have known
the extreme difficulty of the police getting evidence at all, and that it
probably could not be got except by the raid, which he approved, and that
a second raid after such a warning would almost inevitably be abortive.
Yet, although systematic betting was proved, he ruled that it was not
illegal, although it might have been so if it had been shown to go on day
after day. The false protection extended to the race-course rings by the
Powell-Kempton Park case would be incomplete if it were not to cover the
betting clubs, and no branch of the gaming laws is more defective than
with regard to these latter.

Last year the Grand Jury at Liverpool made a presentment in which they
called attention “to the large sums of money extracted from the public
by the so-called social clubs, which have formed the subject of several
of the prosecutions which have come before us, and we feel that much
harm must be done to working men and clerks belonging to the city by the
assistance of these clubs.” Unfortunately, while the Act in question
gives facilities for proceedings against such institutions, the police
are often bribed. The writer knows of more than one instance of notice of
a coming raid having been secretly given by police officers. In one case
in London the proprietor openly boasts his defiance of any attempt to set
the law in motion against him. Matters are no better in the provinces,
and are not likely to be anywhere until the police have been thoroughly

_(g) Petty Gambling._—A few only of the multifarious forms of petty
gambling can be mentioned here, principally with reference to the
temptations spread before the rising generation. Amongst them are the
automatic machines referred to above, which an ever-vigilant and not
too scrupulous commercial instinct has been busy in turning to account
for the purpose. Playing-cards figure also under this heading as a very
widespread source of demoralisation among the young, especially in poor
districts. Enormous quantities are sold in this country, as statistics
show, and now that they are made small and cheap they are to be found
everywhere. Amongst the young—where there is no bribery or but little—the
police are more active and unrestrained. Gaming with cards and in other
forms in a public place is prohibited, and prosecutions in connection
with them are frequently reported in the newspapers. It is consequently
often followed by juveniles in the poorer class refreshment-houses, and
the proprietors are liable if in any way conniving at it, as in the
case of a man at Hammersmith, where fifteen boys were found playing
nap, and it was shown that he charged each boy a penny by the half-hour
for the table. This sort of thing is going on all over the kingdom, and
between the example set by their elders and the difficulty of passing
more drastic laws while leaving gambling almost unfettered for rich
people, the coming race in Great Britain promises to be worse rather
than better, notwithstanding all the efforts of reformers. Sir W. H.
Stephenson said at Newcastle some time ago, in sentencing a group of
lads for gambling, that he did not know what would become of the rising
generation. Very numerous instances could be quoted of remarks showing
the astonishment and despondency felt by magistrates generally. At many
of the Courts hardly a week passes but what a batch of these young
offenders has to be dealt with. Organised Sunday gambling is very common
in numbers of districts, regular scouts and a system of signalling being
maintained to outwit the police.

N. _Gambling in the Stock, Produce, and other Markets_

It may be said that there is positively no effective legislation in
existence, if an exception be made of the Bank Act 1867, 30 Vict. c. 29,
which provides for contracts identifying the shares of banks bought and
sold. However thoroughly we may be convinced that much of the business in
the above marts is to a great extent a matter of gaming, it is impossible
to ignore the fact that there is a large amount of legitimate business
transacted in them, and that the commercial world could hardly exist
without them. There is, moreover, the great difficulty of drawing a line
between the commerce and the gambling. Of course the havoc and ruin
arising are known to all. The Stock Exchange is probably responsible for
as much loss and misery as even the Turf, and the suffering caused in
Lancashire by the recent cotton gambling is but one instance, and that
as it were a by-product, of the extravagant transactions of the produce
exchanges. Pages might be filled with instances, such as the sale on a
single occasion of two millions of a well-known railway’s stock, only
£500 of it being a genuine investment. Where a commercial element is
inherent, and of shifting and unascertainable proportions, difficulty
has hitherto been found in framing laws against gambling which would
not hamper legitimate enterprise; and consequently, in our country,
by leaving things alone, the gambler has been actually encouraged by
allowing him to go scot free of the moderate _pro rata_ dues exacted from
the investor. In this particular the present laws are most unhappily
defective, and when we come to deal with remedies on a later page
suggestions will be made upon the subject.


In the forefront of existing legislation with regard to betting is the
great statute known as the Betting Act 1853, 16 & 17 Vict. c. 119. “This
most salutary Act,” as Lord Chief Justice Russell called it, was passed
when betting by the deposit of ready money was carried on to an enormous
extent in houses and offices in towns, and only to a very limited extent
in race-course enclosures; and the Attorney-General of the day, in
telling the House of Commons that the Bill was not intended to interfere
with Tattersall’s, was either unaware how rapidly the ready-money system
at the races was growing, or designedly suppressed allusion to it, as
an awkward question not absolutely necessary to be faced at the time.
The Act crushed the town houses, and the business was transferred to the
rings, and the question of the application of the Act to these open-air
betting-shops was not decided by the (Criminal) High Court until 1897,
in _Hawke_ v. _Dunn_ (1897, 1 Q.B.), when Mr. Justice Hawkins, whose
knowledge of the Turf was well known, delivered an unanimous judgment on
behalf of the five judges of the Queen’s Bench Division who heard the
case, holding the rings to be nothing but betting-houses or places. This
meant police raids upon the rings, and the writer was assured at Scotland
Yard that the police force would do its duty. But the stoppage of half
the race meetings in the country was involved, and the Jockey Club and
the bookmakers immediately trumped up a collusive civil case—_Powell_
v. _Kempton Park Co., Ltd._ (1897, 2 Q.B.)—which could be carried above
the (Criminal) High Court. The supposed plaintiff was a clerk in the
office of the business men of the Jockey Club. It could not be found
that he was either a householder or a ratepayer at the suburban address
endorsed on the writ. His only status was obtained by getting a single
share in the Kempton Park Co. from one of its directors, a bookmaker, and
within a month of the above decision a writ was issued by him under the
pretext that he wished to prevent the company permitting the illegalities
condemned in _Hawke_ v. _Dunn_, but for the real purpose of re-trying
the question in a form which might give a chance of overthrowing that
decision in the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords. In each case the
Courts were divided, but the majority of both went against the unanimous
judgment of the Criminal Judges, although the collusion and misstatements
were of so scandalous a nature that they were denounced by more than one
member of the latter tribunal. These cases were long, but for the general
public the question of whether the existing legislation of the Act of
1853 ought or ought not to have been held to apply to the rings can be
put in a nutshell. All the Courts agreed that the rings must be treated
as if they were capable of being “places.” How then could they be ruled
out of the Act? Everything turned upon the construction of the language
of sections 1 and 3; here it is, abbreviated but not altered: “Any person
who, being the owner or occupier of any place, or a person using the
same, shall open, keep, or use the same for the purpose of any money
being received, etc.; and any person who, being the owner or occupier,
shall knowingly and wilfully permit the same to be opened, kept, or used
by _any other person_ for the purpose of any money being received, etc.”
Everything turns upon the italicised words. Lord Chancellor Halsbury and
the majority of the judges took the only view under which it was possible
to protect the rings, by holding those italicised words to mean a person
having authority over the whole ring, a person analogous to and of the
same genus as the owner or occupier, and therefore as not applying to any
one of the various bookmakers carrying on business on his own account
within it. Three questions which were not asked should have disposed of
this view entirely:—

(1) If the _any other person_ is a person analogous to and of the same
genus as the owner or occupier, why is he in this second part of section
3 clearly considered to be in the subordinate position of a user by
permission? And if this second part of the section does not hit such a
person as the bookmaker, what possible person can it be aimed at, not
already struck by the first part of the section (other than those having
the care or management separately named later on)?

(2) Why did the Act immediately stop the business of the town houses?
For, under the construction now given to it, the proprietor had merely to
alter his arrangements, announcing that he himself would take no part in
the betting, but would get his profit by an entrance fee charged to all
comers alike, as the proprietors of the rings do.

(3) Under this construction, what is to prevent houses or rooms being
opened in towns by hairdressers, tobacconists, or others, charging an
entrance fee to all comers, but the proprietor taking no part in the

Briefly summed up, the House of Lords’ judgment comes to this. The
Kempton Park ring owners or occupiers are not responsible, because they
do not themselves carry on the business of betting in the ring; and the
bookmakers are not responsible, because, although they do this, they are
not owners or occupiers, or persons using the same in control of, or
authority in the place.

We have pointed out that the Act could have been shown to apply to the
bookmakers but for the disgraceful collusion of this case, in which
plaintiff and defendants desired the same result; but it is proper
to qualify this by saying that the professional men, upon one side
at all events, should be looked on as dupes rather than accomplices.
Unhappily, it must be added that such a black page of disgrace would not
have defaced our Law Reports but for private and influential pressure
brought to bear upon certain members of the Courts of such a nature as
to have outweighed with them the fearful responsibility of throwing open
every public-house in the kingdom—indeed, potentially, every private
house—as an authorised betting establishment; for the decisions finding
public-houses to be “places” because bookmakers carry on business in them
is absolutely contrary to the Powell-Kempton Park judgment, although
this is done occasionally by the Courts, most anxious as all of them
are to prevent the evils arising from public-house betting; but the
shifts to which they are driven to reconcile their decisions with the
Kempton judgment are almost as amusing as they are humiliating. Thus the
strong arm of the Act of 1853 has been temporarily paralysed, and these
peripatetic Monte Carlos all over the kingdom, the rings, have had their
lives prolonged for the present.

There are, however, two subordinate sections, 5 and 7, which are of
great importance, or rather have become so through the exertions of the
National Anti-Gambling League. By judgments obtained in the King’s Bench
Division, and confirmed by the Court of Appeal (_Lennox_ v. _Stoddart_
and _Davis_ v. _Stoddart_, C.A. 1902—2 K.B.), under sections 1 and 3 of
the 1853 Act, the deposit of money for betting is illegal, even though
not made direct to the house or place of business of the bookmaker. By
these judgments it will be seen that all bookmakers advertising from
offices in the United Kingdom and receiving deposits (before the issue of
the events betted upon) there _or elsewhere_, directly or indirectly, are
keepers of betting-houses, and their advertisements illegal under section
7; and that the newspaper proprietors admitting these advertisements are
also offenders under the same section. This has only recently become
clear in law, and still awaits application on a large scale. The same
remark applies to the operation of section 5, under which, by the Court
of Appeal decisions referred to, all such deposits can be reclaimed for
the senders by the special statutory right of the Act; in the words of
Lord Justice Matthew, as “a penalty, or mulct in the nature of a penalty,
for a violation of the terms of the Act of Parliament.” In many cases
considerable sums have already been refunded by the bookmakers, but,
while any loophole is left open by doubts as to the application of the
Act of 1853 to bookmakers ostensibly giving no address in the United
Kingdom, but carrying on business across the Channel, there is something
to be said for the policy of not pressing the application of sections 5
and 7 before other lines of the campaign against the professional betting

Although the destructive judgment in _Powell_ v. _Kempton Park_ reduces
the public fear of betting in houses or places other than race-course
rings to little more than a popular superstition, provided such places
are arranged as indicated above, that fear still prevails, and has
consequently brought about a regular system of betting almost anywhere
and everywhere out of doors, commonly known as street betting. For many
years the association formed to combat the general evil has busied
itself, _inter alia_, in getting County and Municipal authorities to
pass bye-laws against this street system of betting, and these are now
in force in about 150 areas, including many of the principal cities
and counties, but the Acts sanctioning these bye-laws (Counties, sec.
16 Local Government Act 1888; Cities, Towns, etc., sec. 23 Municipal
Corporations Act 1882) only permitting a maximum fine of £5, without
powers of arrest and search, have been found unequal to the evil, so that
the fines are merely looked upon by the bookmakers as a tax on profits;
and to the despair of the authorities the effect is merely to enhance
the police fines by a small share of the profits of the trade. Wealthy
bookmakers employ several underlings, and drive round in a trap at stated
intervals to receive their takings, never appearing themselves before the
magistrates, but merely supplying the fines to their servants. Others
surround the exits of places of business of all kinds at the dinner hour,
or even collect deposits at the small houses of the workers, during their
absence, from their wives; and numbers of them adopt the subtle plan
of bribing foremen and forewomen on the business premises to act as
their agents by giving them a commission on the profits. Circulars have
been published in the _Times_, received from bookmakers by foremen in
the employ of mercantile firms of first class standing, offering 10 per
cent commission to influential employees. Convincing evidence was given
before the Select Committee of the House of Lords as to the deteriorating
effects of the professional betting system upon the character and work
of British artisans, and the information subsequently published by the
Moseley Commission strongly confirms this in making comparisons with
foreign workmen.



Having laid before the reader an account of existing legislation at
the commencement of the twentieth century with regard, firstly, to
Miscellaneous Gambling, and, secondly, Betting, suggestions shall now be
made as to how the law can be amended and made more operative; but as the
last of the two items, Betting, is freshest in the mind, the order shall
be reversed, and it shall first occupy our consideration.

It would be useless to confuse the reader’s mind by going through the
statutes relating to betting, other than the Act of 1853, which is the
reformer’s armoury; but it requires to be refurbished and enlarged, and
will then be capable, supplemented by the proposed Street Betting Bill,
of bringing about a great and beneficial change.

What is desirable must be subdivided into what may be considered now
practicable, in accordance with the position approached by public
opinion; and further reforms, to prepare the way for which social
reformers have still much to do.

It may be wise, and save time in the end, to confine attempts at
legislation to three short and simple improvements, viz.: (1) passing
the Street Betting Bill for largely increasing the fines and inflicting
imprisonment for that offence, as unanimously recommended by the Select
Committee of the House of Lords; (2) an amendment of section 7 of the
Betting Act of 1853, subjecting advertisements of foreign betting-houses
to the same penalties as those in the United Kingdom; and altering the
wording of the same, which now only condemns advertisements “whereby
it shall be made to appear,” which words were regretfully held by the
King’s Bench Division in _Ashley and Smith, Ltd._, v. _Hawke_, K.B.D.
1903 (_Sportsman_), not to cover the advertisements of notorious
betting-houses, as the advertisements on their face merely referred
to races, etc., and gave the necessary address for communications and
remittances. Such advertisements have always been considered as dubiously
lawful, and double charges are paid for their insertion. More than one of
the sporting, or rather betting, papers make profits of £5000 to £7000
a year out of them; and the Lord Chief Justice, in his judgment, spoke
of the necessity of legislation, as has been already stated; (3) making
payments of bets in public-houses illegal. A Bill of twenty lines might
cover the whole of the above.

With these three amendments of the law, and Scotland Yard enforcing the
present laws as expounded in the Court of Appeal cases above against the
betting-houses, great progress will be made. The bankruptcy authorities
should take advantage of these decisions to insist upon the return of all
monies sent to bookmakers by debtors within the statute of limitations,
under section 5 of the 1853 Act.

But these improvements, so long as the _Powell_ v. _Kempton Park_ case
remains unchallenged, or the law as to “persons using” unaltered, will
still leave all British sport grounds open to the baneful influence of
the bookmaker—indeed, as previously explained, every house, room, or
enclosed place in the kingdom. The time will surely come when the nation
will insist upon this scandal being removed. Reasons have been given for
thinking that the House of Lords’ judgment in _Powell_ v. _Kempton Park_
cannot possibly be the right interpretation of the Act of 1853; and that
it was differently interpreted by the racing world, and by the Jockey
Club itself, even twenty years after it was passed, may be shown by here
quoting from the notice in the _Racing Calendar_ published in 1874: “It
having come to the knowledge of the Stewards of the Jockey Club that
betting for ready money in the ring ... has taken place at Newmarket,
they hereby give notice that no such illegal betting is permitted either
in the enclosures or any part of their property at Newmarket.” Thus in
1874 deposit-taking by bookmakers was held to be illegal, for it is quite
impossible that the notice refers to persons in authority and control,
as Lord Halsbury now says the persons using are, for the controllers
were the stewards themselves or their managers, and these managers are
separately provided for in the Act. When it is determined to suppress
professional betting the alteration in the wording of the Act need be
only a simple one to free athletic sports of all kinds from the farce of
the immunity of the proprietor as not betting but taking entrance fees,
and of the bookmakers as betting but not being proprietors. But if the
awful consequences following from the professional betting system were
fully known, an Act making the calling itself entirely illegal would
appeal strongly to the public conscience. To license them would be as bad
as to return to the days of state lotteries, or to adopt the Continental
plan of taking special taxes in commutation of the offences of those who
trade upon other vices.


N. _Gambling in the Stock, Produce, and other Markets_

When in any system of business the element of commerce and gambling are
inextricably mixed, it is wise to adopt a line of expediency. The gambler
should at least pay the same dues as the genuine investor. To ensure
this no contract should be made enforceable or legal unless made upon
Government stamped paper. The real buyer of £500 would not complain of
having to pay 2s. or say 1s. per £100 to the National Exchequer; but
the dealers in a £2,000,000 gambling contract would think twice before
incurring a first definite outlay of £2000 or even £1000 cash down. A
similar regulation would be desirable for the Produce, etc., Exchanges.
In this way, by a perfectly equitable legal enactment, the wings of
outrageous speculation would be clipped. An additional improvement would
be an extension to all stocks and shares upon the lines of the principles
of the Bank Act 1867, 30 Vict., c. 29. Prior to its passing, gambling
in the shares of Banks had become a scandal, and a danger to credit. It
provided for contracts setting forth the distinctive numbers of Bank
shares, so as to prevent sales of shares of which the sellers were not
possessed. In the produce markets similar requirements could be insisted
on to bring about a corresponding result.

N. _Industrial Gaming unconnected with Trade_

_Illegal Games._—The legislative remedy here should be to abolish the old
interdict of certain special games, and to make all games of combined
skill and chance illegal when played for money. But this would be a
counsel of perfection which, in the present state of public opinion,
would have no chance of being carried out. If, however, the words were
added, “_by players of unequal experience and skill_,” it would give the
Courts power to penalise the rooks in all such glaring cases as their
victims should place in the hands of the authorities. Nor does there
seem to be any reason why the old idea of restrictions as to amount
should not be made good use of. There would be an enormous balance of
advantage if it were declared illegal for a person to obtain during any
one day a sum exceeding £10 by gaming, or for minors to gamble at all.
The flocks of pigeons would to some extent be protected, however little
the rook minority liked it, and society should benefit in every way. Such
a regulation would sweep away the scandalous immunity enjoyed by rich
men’s clubs; and, considering the widespread ruin for which they are
responsible, and the present disgraceful unfairness of the law as between
the poor and the wealthy, its application should work an incalculable

_Playing with Gaming-Machines._—The Courts now seem disposed to construe
the question of a modicum of skill more severely in this connection as
children are so largely affected, and from what has been said above it
may be hoped that the automatic machines are doomed. The above remarks,
however, with regard to combined skill and chance and restriction of
amount, apply here also to a certain extent, especially with regard to
their use in clubs. The difficulties will be great of applying such
regulations to gambling in private houses until the moral sense of the
community becomes more keenly alive to the penalties of sorrow, ruin, and
degradation which are the sad sequel of its neglect.

_Lotteries and Sweepstakes._—The Lottery Acts now existing might
have been fairly efficient if it were not for the difficulty, delay,
and expense in having to obtain in certain cases the leave of the
Attorney-General before proceedings can be taken. This especially
applies in the matter of newspapers which benefit by advertising the
lotteries. They are protected by 8 & 9 Vict. c. 74, the provision in
which needs modification. There is still much, however, to be desired in
the efficiency of administration, which cannot be fully attained until
the farcical practice of allowing the law to be broken for charitable
purposes is given up. Some years ago the Scotch authorities openly stated
in reply to a remonstrance that in such cases no interference would be
made. This lache has been to a large extent followed in England, and when
the National Anti-Gambling League pointed out to the late Mr. Adrian
Hope, the Secretary for the Hospital for Sick Children in Great Ormond
Street, that the great raffles intended to be held at the Coronation
Bazaar at the London Botanical Gardens were in contravention of the
law, he merely declined to drop them, and said that one of the Judges
had bought the first ticket for the chief lottery. Questions had to be
asked in the House of Commons before they could be stopped, after the
illegality had been acknowledged by Ministers.

To sum up under this head, the Post Office should have increased powers
and inducements to destroy lottery matter, and to confiscate and
appropriate for the benefit of the Rowland Hill Memorial Fund, in which
the Post Office is so much interested, all lottery remittances, whether
British or foreign; the question of the Attorney-General’s fiat for
prosecutions should be reconsidered; and the police authorities should
be stimulated to institute a regular and impartial campaign. How grossly
the weapons of the law in regard to lotteries have been neglected may be
illustrated by a statement made in a Treasury prosecution at Clerkenwell
Police Court in June 1904, to the effect that one of the most important
statutes, 4 Geo. IV. c. 60, was extremely difficult to find, not being
printed in the ordinary book of statutes, and was not found in any
magisterial text-book.

_Press Competitions and Coupon Gambling._—So numerous are the devices of
the baser organs of the press, and even of some which find it difficult
to hold out against their competition, that no reform of the law is
likely to be effective without some enactment making the offering of
prizes illegal beyond a certain small amount; which compromise can hardly
be avoided, because the best of these newspaper competitions offer
undoubtedly some educational inducements. Those which are merely gambling
vehicles should be suppressed. The bad position here again rests upon
the foolish old dictum as to a modicum of skill covering a quantity of
gambling. For instance, an unfortunate decision of the High Court in
_Hall_ v. _Cox_ (1 Q.B. 1899), held that guesses at the numbers of the
next Registrar-General’s return (although any competitor could purchase
any quantity of the newspaper, filling in a different number for each
one, thus making it an extensive gamble at will) did not constitute a
lottery, because a certain amount of skill could be exercised by the
study of previous returns. This led to numerous imitations, one of
which was guessing at the future circulation of a paper, which had the
additional journalistic merit of acting as a good advertisement. Amongst
many, one poor and foolish artisan acknowledged that he had purchased
considerable numbers of the newspaper, and its great increase in
circulation by the device shows how many credulous persons were willing
to gamble under the shelter of the law.

Two brief sections should meet the difficulties under this heading:—

1. Make all such competitions in which there is a material element of
chance illegal.

2. Make it illegal for any publication to offer in any one edition a
prize or prizes of the aggregate value of more than £5 for any purpose

_Gambling in Clubs._—With regard to the law as to betting in clubs,
allusion has already been made to _Downes_ v. _Johnson_ (2 Q.B. 1895) and
a recent decision of Mr. Justice Bucknill which appears to follow upon
the lines of that most unfortunate and harmful judgment. The alteration
of the law needed here (none should be needed but for the interpretation
put upon the words “person using” and “any other person” in section 30 of
the Betting Act of 1853, as meaning persons in authority in the place,
in the _Powell_ v. _Kempton Park_ case) is to so alter the section that
the proprietors or committee of a club shall not escape responsibility
for individuals, like the bookmakers in a race-course ring, carrying
on betting businesses. Merely a clear definition of “persons using” as
including such individuals is needed. This would bring all these betting
establishments, some of which merely pretend to be social clubs, into
the category of betting-houses, which are common gaming-houses; and if
this were supplemented by a section as previously suggested, following
the idea of the statutes of Anne and 18 George II., making the gain
by any one member of a club of a greater sum than £10, on any game or
chance whatever, upon any particular day, an offence entailing the same
consequences, a heavy blow would be struck at gambling clubs of all kinds.

As to other gaming in clubs, chiefly card-playing, the reader who plods
through the long technical judgment of Mr. Justice Hawkins in _Jenks_
v. _Turpin_ (13 Q.B.D.) will be chiefly impressed by the feeling that
the police authorities systematically fail to make use of the existing
laws, which is indeed the fact; but this is owing in great measure to
difficulties in obtaining evidence, and the natural reluctance to order
raids while the gamesters have the power to retaliate in case of failure.
When elaborate preparations have been made at the cost of much labour,
time, and expense, heavy bribery will often obtain the needful warning
even from within the police force. The great clubs are seldom or never
touched, and until a special department is formed at Scotland Yard under
an able and determined chief, with absolute power of instant dismissal
and punishment and liberal reward in dealing with his subordinates, our
social life will continue to be poisoned with the evils of club gambling.
If this were done and the old £10 limit named above once more revived,
and greater power conferred to punish the players as well as the club
committees and proprietors, club gambling would dwindle and the career
of the professional gamester become less profitable and more precarious,
while fortunes and incomes now thrown away would be applied to fruitful
and honest purposes.

_Petty Gambling._—In the matter of petty gambling what is needed is not
so much amendments of the law (the enormous demand for playing-cards
seems, indeed, to make the reimposition of a tax advisable) as its
assiduous application by the authorities. It is now so diffused,
unhappily owing in great part to the habit the nation has fallen into
of looking upon gambling as a venial vice, if vice at all, that their
task may well seem endless; and in this connection the most effective
legislative enactment, for petty gambling is very widespread amongst
juveniles, might well be some considered scheme compulsorily providing
for teaching the young in primary and secondary schools how wrong it is
and what evils it leads to. The materials exist for enabling this to be
done in a very incisive manner, and by the time such systematic lessons
have permeated the rising generation their elders may become as ashamed
of indulging in betting and gambling as they may now be said to be of


It remains to say a few words about the press, which is largely
responsible for the great evils of gambling, particularly of the
professional betting system, under the plea of devotion to sport,
which even the Duke of Devonshire seems to consider is being overdone,
according to a recent speech made by him in public. The prohibition of
the betting odds was strongly urged upon the Select Committee of the
House of Lords. It would be a fatal blow to bookmaking, for nine bets
out of ten are now made without agreement with the bookmakers as to the
figures, but depending upon their subsequent publication as reported
from the starting-post. The betting men put forward advocates before the
Committee who pretended to think that such legislation would not reduce
betting, but the best test is the frantic opposition which the bookmakers
offer to the proposition. It is earnestly advocated by men like Mr. Le
Blanc Smith of Oxford University and others interested in the purity of
sport. The Committee say in their Report on Betting (Report and Evidence,
No. 389, 1902; Evidence, No. 370, 1901; Index, 173 and 114, 1902): “There
can be little doubt that the almost universal practice of publishing in
newspapers what are known as ‘Starting-Price Odds’ greatly facilitates
betting upon horse-races”; but, as they considered it to be in the nature
of news, and a protection against fraud, they were not prepared to
recommend the suggestion. It may be pointed out, however, that although
no doubt the odds published are often correct, there is a regular system
arranged between the bookmakers and the baser press organs for quoting
unreal odds to lure on the public, which was exposed three years ago
in an amusing controversy between two London newspapers. Moreover, the
prevention of the swindling of some of the foolish public by bookmakers
seems a poor reason for permitting the continuation of a practice which
so materially assists in the demoralisation of hundreds of thousands of
the populace. Considerable pains have been taken to ascertain privately
the feeling of the better class of newspapers upon this subject, and it
is found that they would welcome such a prohibition, provided it be made
universal, as it will actually benefit all respectable journals. Their
circulation is reduced by the public being led to spend their “press
money” upon the so-called sporting or betting papers, the number of which
is legion, many of them making great incomes of thousands per annum;
besides which a considerable number of the less respectable newspapers
issue during the racing seasons editions printed literally for nothing
beyond the result of horse-races, and in the winter of football matches,
the ordinary matter which has remained in type enabling them to escape
from the meshes of the new bye-laws as to publications consisting wholly
or chiefly of sporting—betting—information. Parliament will have to make
up its mind some day to deal with this aspect of the betting question,
and to say that the liberty of the press is not liberty to debauch
the public and to share in the proceeds of doing so; that if Lord
Beaconsfield was right, in his time, in stigmatising the Turf as a vast
engine of national demoralisation, and if its powers for evil are now
far greater than in his days, the press shall not continue to bolster up
the system by publishing the odds, and sharing in its ill-gained profits
through the medium of advertisements.


In conclusion, it may be said that when such time arrives the conviction
will also be held by the people of the United Kingdom that the
professional gambler in the stock and produce markets, whose operations
it is not always possible to challenge as being entirely unconnected
with commerce, should at least have his huge dealings hampered by a _pro
rata_ tax, the incidence of which would not interfere with _bona fide_
purchases and sales; that our police forces must be saved from becoming
as corrupt as Tammany Hall through bookmakers’ bribes, to which several
of them are well on the way; that the great Department of the Post
Office must not continue to swell its revenues by using its organisation
to assist the corrupt business of betting, even granting it special
facilities, whatever may be alleged to the contrary—in particular,
with regard to the telegraphic service, in which overt temptations to
the servants in its employ are continually resulting in its having to
prosecute them in batches, notably the younger ones among them, in
the name of public morality, but practically for the protection of
this bookmaking system which the Post Office, as its intermediary for
deposits, assists and fosters in its work of breeding criminals and
cheating fools; and finally that those individuals who, without the
vestige of any mercantile basis, prey upon the credulity and vices of
their fellow-countrymen should be looked upon as _hostes humani generis_,
so that the bookmakers shall be treated as criminals and punished, not by
fines but by imprisonment.

Then, perhaps, also, the habitual private gambler of means and position
will find every public career and honour withheld from him, and this
great Christian nation will approach the plane of morality now occupied
in this respect by our allied heathen empire of Japan.



In seeking remedies for the acknowledged national evils of betting and
gambling, it will be well to consider what are the causes that have
probably chiefly contributed to the present deplorable state of things.

Amongst the wealthy or well-to-do there can be little doubt that (_a_)
the thoughtless following of fashion, (_b_) the desire for excitement and
a sense of “life,” and (_c_) the craving for gain without labour, are
the main incentives to gambling practices. The same causes, though in
differing degrees, and finding expression in somewhat differing forms,
appear also to lie at the root of the matter amongst the artisan classes
and the labouring poor.

So far as concerns the following of fashion, the unwillingness to hold
out against the customs of one’s comrades, and to go against the stream,
human nature is the same in rich and poor, and there is no remedy for
this failing but improvement of the moral stamina of the individual.

With regard, however, to the desire for excitement and a certain fulness
of life, there are causes operating which differ widely in the cases of
the rich and the poor. The monotony of the rich is a monotony of surfeit.
They have means to satisfy all their material needs, and the very fact
that they need not strive after anything brings satiety into everything,
and with it the craving for excitement. And excitement in abundance may
be found in gambling. This has been well put by Dr. Robertson:—

    What we want is life, “more life and fuller.” To escape from
    monotony, to get away from the life of mere routine and habits,
    to feel that we are alive—with more of surprise and wakefulness
    in our existence. To have less of the gelid, torpid,
    tortoise-like existence. “To feel the years before us.” To be
    consciously existing.

    Now, this desire lies at the bottom of many forms of life
    which are apparently as diverse as possible. It constitutes
    the fascination of the gambler’s life; money is not what he
    wants—were he possessed of thousands to-day he would risk them
    all to-morrow—but it is that, being perpetually on the brink of
    enormous wealth and utter ruin, he is compelled to realise at
    every moment the possibility of extremes of life. Every moment
    is one of feeling.

In the case of the poor, on the other hand, monotony of life arises from
the very absence of the external advantages of the wealthier. The young
man, after a day of monotonous toil in some uninteresting occupation, has
too often to come home to his small and overcrowded house in a dingy back
street, where his only living room is one which must serve the purposes
of kitchen, nursery, parlour, and dining-room, and where he can find no
relief from the noisy children. His mental horizon is extremely limited,
and he has hardly any intellectual interests. He cannot afford the forms
of recreation that would be indulged in by his unintellectual brother
among the richer classes of Society, and yet he has the same desire for
“life.” He thinks to get it cheaply by betting.

Again, the desire of gain without work is common to all classes. With
the well-to-do and the professional, it may take the reputable form of
speculating in stocks and shares—a large proportion of a sharebroker’s
business is notoriously for speculative clients; but the poor also may
succumb to the temptation, though on a humbler scale. The writer heard
recently of a woman who had her family to maintain, and who, with but
one shilling in the world, staked it on a horse in the hope of mending

If then the causes of gambling are so widespread, and are due to
conditions all but universal in this country, can anything be done in the
way of remedy?

Undoubtedly much may be done in the way of legislative and administrative
steps, the right direction of which is indicated in the Report published
by the House of Lords’ Commission.[11] It is important that we should
urge upon Parliament the need for laws upon these lines.

But apart altogether from legislation—though at the same time tending to
ripen public opinion for more stringent laws—a good deal may be achieved,
and it is the object of this paper to make suggestions in this direction.

Unquestionably the first thing which those should do who are desirous
of suppressing the gambling evil is absolutely to dissociate themselves
from any form of it whatever, commercial or otherwise. Even those who
play cards for insignificant stakes, or who place very small amounts upon
horses—amounts so small that it is practically immaterial whether they
win or lose—are nevertheless severely handicapping themselves in any
effort they may make to check the gambling curse. They undo the influence
which they might exert upon children, workmen, or employees, who notice
that they indulge in gambling transactions, but do not notice, or at any
rate soon forget, that these transactions are extremely small in amount.
The influence of would-be reformers must be unreservedly opposed to the
evil, even in those forms which are apparently harmless, for it is just
these which are the first links in a chain which may eventually bind some
weaker brother hand and foot.

The writer is aware that in urging the avoidance of gambling in
commercial transactions he exposes himself to the objection that
gambling and commerce are apparently inextricably associated. He
does not, however, seek to maintain that any hard and fast line can
be drawn, transactions on one side of which are to be described as
of a speculative or gambling nature, and on the other as legitimate
business. He is aware that in every business there must be some amount
of speculation, just as there is every time that we decide whether we
shall or shall not take an umbrella when we go for a walk. He is aware,
too, that in business much depends upon the special circumstances of the
case and the spirit in which the transaction is undertaken, but he would
nevertheless urge the importance of reducing the speculative element in
business to the lowest possible point, rather than the adoption of a
policy which introduces needless uncertainty as to the future.

Having first taken care that our personal influence is cast
unhesitatingly upon the right side, we should next seek to create _a
sound Public Opinion_. There is great need for the spread of information
regarding the extent of the evil, as the facts in connection with it are
at present but little known. Generally speaking, the public have not yet
realised that betting and gambling are wrong, or that the evil has spread
until it has become a grave national danger. Even the Churches have not
yet at all generally spoken out with regard to the question, and much may
be done in stirring them up in the matter. Although almost every Church
has some organised temperance society actively at work, how many Churches
have undertaken any organised effort for the suppression of gambling? In
how many cities of the British Islands does an anti-gambling society
exist? Here at any rate direct work may at once be started towards the
formation of enlightened public opinion. It is important that a branch
of the National Anti-Gambling Society should be formed in every town,
whether it be directly connected with the local Churches or otherwise.
In one town with which the writer is familiar, a society of this kind
was formed seven years ago. Its annual income, raised by subscriptions,
only averages about £30, but, nevertheless, it has been able to do a
large amount of steady work, which has undoubtedly resulted in the
creation in the town of a much sounder public opinion with regard to
this great question than existed previously. This society has prepared
fly-leaves and pamphlets, and distributed them from house to house once
or twice a year. It communicates with the clergy each year just before
the spring and summer race meetings, and bespeaks reference in their
sermons to the gambling then prevalent. It arranges to send speakers to
address various meetings held in connection with churches and chapels;
such, for instance, as P.S.A., Men’s Bible Classes, and special theatre
services. It has also organised many public meetings on its own account,
as, for example, during the week in which this article was written,
when an open-air meeting was held on a Sunday afternoon, at which about
1000 persons were present. As might be anticipated, the experience of
this society is that it is difficult to get to these meetings those who
themselves indulge in betting and gambling on any extensive scale, but
the committee feel that the meetings rouse interest in the question
among the more thoughtful members of the community, who, in their turn,
will personally influence other people, and probably at the present time
this is a more fruitful line of service than attempting to make a direct
appeal to gamblers.

We may derive encouragement in the slow work of leavening public opinion
as to gambling from the memory of the revolution that has taken place
in public opinion with regard to drunkenness. In the time of the later
Georges, it was no disgrace for a statesman to be seen drunk in public.
Now, even a workman would lose caste with his respectable companions if
he were seen drunk. We must at any cost enlist this compelling power of
Public Opinion. We want all classes to pass on confirmed gamblers the
same judgment as they pass on confirmed drinkers. We want, too, a public
opinion which will condemn commercial gambling just as much as betting
upon horses or anything else, or playing cards for high stakes. There
is, indeed, a healthy growth of religious opinion at the present time
with regard to raffles at bazaars, but there is much need for further
education even on this question. Some time ago the writer received a
request to take part in an enormous raffle which was being organised
on behalf of a religious institution in Ireland, the prizes in which
included a cameo of Leo XIII. (specially presented by the Pope himself),
and a motor-car valued at £300. Knowing that such transactions were
entirely illegal, he communicated with the police at Dublin Castle, and
asked whether they were intending to take action in connection with the
matter. He was, however, informed that, since the object was religious,
they did not intend doing so. He then requested a Member of Parliament
to put a question in the House with regard to the matter, but he was
informed that a question dealing with a similar case had been put two or
three weeks before, and that the responsible Minister had replied that,
although it was known that lotteries of this character were illegal, it
was not the custom to interfere when they were for a religious purpose!
Such an example indicates how inadequate is the appreciation on the
part even of those in high positions of the seriousness of the gambling
evil in this country, and of the necessity of taking all legitimate
steps for its discouragement and suppression. Indeed, the same apathy
and lack of intelligent interest is not infrequently to be found even
amongst dignitaries of the Anglican Church. On one occasion the writer
wrote to a clergyman of high station asking him to take the chair at an
anti-gambling meeting to be held after church hours on a Sunday night.
He received a reply to the effect that the clergyman in question could
not come, believing as he did that the “Sabbath was made for edification
and dedication, and not for demonstration and declamation”; and, further,
that probably his views with regard to the question were not those of the
Committee of the Anti-Gambling Society, as he considered that there was
no harm in gambling unless a sum were staked greater than the gambler
was prepared to pay if called upon to do so! Such an opinion is not
isolated, even among comparatively thoughtful people.

It is quite likely that with most gamblers any attempt to convince them
that gambling is wrong in itself will fail. Probably more impression is
made, especially on beginners, by exposing the folly of the practice. In
the case of boys leaving school and entering early manhood, who think it
smart and manly to bet, we can show them that, so far from this being the
case, betting with bookmakers is the hall-mark of an ignorant greenhorn.
We can show them how the bookmaker is a parasite upon society, preying
upon the ignorance of the foolish people who bet with him, and often
living uncommonly well at their expense, as was the bookmaker arrested in
Manchester, whose books showed that he had made £5846 in five months. The
extent to which gross ignorance of all that it is important to know in
estimating the chances of a horse passes for profound knowledge amongst
betting men is astounding. The writer remembers travelling one day from
Newcastle with a number of working men who were going to attend the races
at Thirsk. They were evidently men who habitually betted and closely
followed the betting news in the papers. To any one with the slightest
knowledge of horses, their discussion, although accompanied by airs of
profound wisdom, was in the highest degree amusing, the climax coming
when one man, whose opinion was evidently greatly valued by the rest,
gave as his reason for not backing a certain horse, “He wags his tail
ower much for me.”

For telling ridicule of the gambling folly there is nothing better than
Charles Kingsley’s _Letter to Young Men on Betting and Gambling_.[12] It
is probably well known, but the writer cannot refrain from quoting one or
two passages:—

    “I hold, then, that betting is itself more or less wrong and
    immoral. But I hold, too, that betting, in three cases out
    of four, is altogether foolish; so foolish that I cannot
    understand why the very young men who are fondest of it should
    be the very men who are proudest of being considered shrewd,
    knowing men of the world, and what not.

    “They stake their money on this horse and on that. Now, judging
    of a horse’s capabilities is an art, and a very delicate and
    difficult art, depending first on natural talent, and next on
    experience, such as not one man in a thousand has. But how many
    betting young men know anything about a horse, save that he
    has four legs? How many of them know at sight whether a horse
    is sound or not? whether he can stay or not? whether he is
    going in good form or not? whether he is doing his best or not?
    Probably five out of six of them could not sit on a race-horse
    without falling off; and then such a youth pretends to himself
    that he is a judge of the capabilities of a noble brute, who
    is a much better judge of the young gentleman’s capabilities,
    and would prove himself so within five minutes after he had got
    into the saddle.

    “‘But they know what the horse has done already.’ Yes; but
    not what the horse might have done. They do not know—no one
    can, who is not in the secrets of the Turf—what the horse’s
    engagements really are; whether he has not been kept back in
    view of those engagements; whether he will not be kept back
    again; whether he has not been used to make play for another
    horse; and—in one word—whether he is _meant_ to win.

    “‘Ah, but the young gentleman has sent his money on commission
    to a prophet in the newspaper, in whom he has the highest
    confidence; he has prophesied the winner two or three times at
    least; and a friend of his sent him money to lay on, and got
    back ever so much; and he has a wonderful Greek name, Lynceus,
    or Polyphemus, or Typhlops, or something, and so he must know.’

    “Ah! fool, fool! You know how often the great Polyphemus
    prophesied the winner, but you do not know how often he did
    not. Hits count of course; but misses are hushed up. And as for
    your friend getting money back, if Polyphemus let no one win,
    his trade would stop. The question is, not whether one foolish
    lad had _won_ by him, but whether five-and-twenty foolish lads
    did not _lose_ by him. He has his book to make, as well as you,
    and he wants your money to pay his own debts with if he loses.
    He has his bread to earn, and he wants your money to earn it
    with; and as for sending him money, you may as well throw a
    sovereign down a coal-pit and expect it to come up again with a
    ton of coals on its back.”

A simple and effective way of exposing the folly of betting on horses is
to take some leading sporting papers for a week and to put an imaginary
pound upon each of the selected winners, and then count the losses and
gains at the end of a week. The result of such an operation was sent to
the _Daily News_ some time ago, and is given below.

The predicted winners were by “Augur” of the _Sporting Life_ and
“Vigilant” of the _Sportsman_, who are recognised authorities in racing
circles. An imaginary pound was put on each race. In the case where two
selections were made, 10s. was put on each.


             _Sporting Life._   _Sportsman._
    Loss         £12 10 11       £16  1 10
    Gain           1 13  9         6 14  6
                ----------      ----------
       Loss      £10 17  2        £9  7  4

It is indeed astonishing how far men will go on the chance of a run of
luck when the probabilities are that they will lose. At Monte Carlo there
are eight gambling-tables, each of which averages a profit of £500 daily
from the public, yet players are always to be found.

Whilst the direct combating of gambling practices is important, it must
never be forgotten that betting and gambling are symptoms of a social
disease, and to get rid of the symptoms the disease itself must be
attacked. In this connection anything done on right lines to make life
less monotonous for the working classes, to improve the conditions of
employment, and to secure adequate wages will tend to diminish the evil
in question.

Take the _monotony of life_, whether amongst rich or poor. In so far
as betting and gambling are indulged in because of this, the efforts
of the reformer must be directed towards its removal. Perhaps the most
desirable way of accomplishing it is to get men interested in some great
religious, political, or social movement. Life ceases to be aimless even
for the wealthy man as soon as he begins to work in a great cause. We
have, fortunately, many instances of those whose every material want is
ready to their hands without any personal effort, and yet whose lives
are in the highest degree useful to the community owing to their efforts
in various social or political movements. People such as these have
probably no temptation to bet, their time and attention being occupied
with that which is vastly more interesting and satisfies more completely
the craving for fulness of life. The same thing applies to the workman
who seeks to break the monotony of his life by betting. Once get that
man really interested in political, social, or religious work, and it
will usually be found that the desire to bet will go, because, as in
the ease of his wealthier brother, his mind is filled with things which
interest him more. Social workers have no time to bet. And as almost all
social movements are suffering for want of workers, we shall be doing
a double good if, while meeting this want, we can at the same time be
helping some one to overcome a great temptation. It is not possible,
of course, to interest every one in movements such as those indicated,
but this is only the stronger reason for endeavouring to get the life
of the community so organised that every one has the opportunity placed
within his reach of introducing into his life interests suited to his
tastes. If this, however, is to be done, much more attention must be
given to the matter than has been the case hitherto. Consider, for
example, the lamentable absence of counter-attractions to those offered
by the publicans. Temperance reformers are now realising that no scheme
of reform is likely to be permanently successful which will not provide
such counter-attractions upon a scale far beyond anything existing at
present. Much the same conditions attach to the repression of gambling.
What is bad needs replacing by what is innocent. Fortunately, the
solutions of the two questions are complementary, and counter-attractions
provided against either temptation will be equally helpful against the
other. The lectures and religious meetings constantly held in our towns
appeal, unfortunately, to but a small section of the community. We want
more social clubs; we want free concerts, elevating although popular in
character; we want places where young men and women can meet socially,
apart from the public-houses, and yet where they have full liberty to
enjoy themselves without licence. We want, indeed, in every town people’s
palaces, where people can be thoroughly at home, and where they can spend
a social evening pleasantly and rationally.[13]

On similar lines the provision of an adequate number of allotments in the
neighbourhood of towns would undoubtedly do much towards reducing the
betting evil. Experience shows that the proportion of working men who
would find in gardening an absorbing interest is very considerable, yet
in most towns the supply of allotments is entirely inadequate. Considered
either as counter-attractions to the public-house and the bookmaker, or
as a benefit to the cultivators in point both of profit and of health,
there is no doubt that it would amply repay municipalities to provide
allotments far more liberally than is done at present.

It is clear, then, that the provision of better housing for the working
classes would tend to decrease the betting evil. Men who have a house of
which they are proud and a garden to cultivate, in which they may keep
poultry, rabbits, or pigeons, are much less likely to indulge in betting
than the inhabitants of an overcrowded town district, with small means of
spending their leisure. Nor will villages produced by the decentralising
of the towns suffer from the monotony of life that at present afflicts
many agricultural districts. Rapid transit will enable them to share in
the interests of the life of the adjacent towns.

The connection between the housing problem and the betting evil well
illustrates our position that betting is, to a large extent, a symptom
of a social disease, and that if we would be successful in eradicating
the symptom, we must seek to remedy the disease. The provision of a
more adequate education for the children of the poor would tend in
this direction. By teaching the children to read we make it easy for
them to follow the betting news in the newspapers and to keep their
betting-books, yet we take them from school before the thirst for
knowledge has really been awakened. Better education is especially needed
in the case of girls, who will be the mothers of the future. If their
mental horizon is limited, they cannot awaken in their children interest
in those various branches of knowledge which provide, in the case of
those who are better educated, the mental landscape which enriches their
lives. All such movements, therefore, as the Home Reading Union, or
anything which tends to the better education of the people, will tend at
the same time to decrease the monotony of life, and lessen the temptation
to resort to demoralising excitements.

There can be little doubt also that much of the monotony of life on
which we have been dwelling is due to the low wages paid to unskilled
labourers. The writer is convinced that upon the average the wages paid
in towns to such are insufficient for the maintenance of a man and a
moderate family in a state of merely physical efficiency, to say nothing
of any margin for developing the higher sides of their natures. It would
be out of place here to enter into detail on the subject of wages, but
the question has so vital a bearing upon the betting evil that it cannot
be altogether omitted. The nation should not be satisfied until the
wages of unskilled labour are such as will provide the necessaries of
physical efficiency for a family of moderate size, and, in addition,
sufficient margin to enable the members of a labourer’s family to provide
what is required for the development of the higher sides of their
natures. At the present time, as stated above, the average wages paid to
unskilled labourers in towns are insufficient for this purpose. So long
as this continues we cannot be surprised if large numbers of working men
live with the better sides of their natures undeveloped, and thus fall an
easy prey to the publican and bookmaker.

Increased wages, however, as we well know, will not by themselves achieve
the desired results. They must be accompanied by influences which will
help men to spend them wisely. In this connection it would be difficult
to lay too much stress on the responsibility which rests upon all
employers of labour to see that the tone in their shops, factories, or
offices is a good one. We scarcely realise how great is the power for
good possessed in this respect by an employer. We know that, when the
selection has to be made of a school for a child, the consideration of
the tone in the school is, in the case of all careful parents, regarded
as paramount, and no careful parent will knowingly send a child to a
school in which the tone is known to be bad. The tone in factories and
shops is an equally important factor in moulding the characters of those
employed in them. Probably much more beneficial influence upon the
character of the working classes may be exercised through the medium
of their places of employment than is at present exercised through the
churches. How few working people attend church or chapel for even one
hour in a week, yet perhaps for fifty hours every week they are under
such influences as are exerted in their factories or workshops. If those
influences are thoroughly good: if in the appointment of overlookers not
only proficiency in work or power of control is considered, but also the
moral influence which they will exert upon those working under them;
if only such foremen are appointed as will encourage all that tends to
elevate the employees, and discourage drinking, gambling, and all that
tends to degrade, the good that may be done is incalculable. To the
present writer it appears that there is no way of producing among the
working classes a sound public opinion on such a question as the one we
are considering, more immediately effective than through the appointment
of men of high character to positions of responsibility in factories,
offices, and shops. If any of us who are seeking to combat the gambling
evil could impress this single fact upon one large employer of labour, we
should probably be sowing seeds from which we might expect to reap a very
abundant harvest.

Whilst the influence of the employer and of his foremen is of widest
importance, we should not underestimate that of even one ordinary
workman, inasmuch as those who work alongside him are likely to be even
more influenced by his actions and opinions than by those of men in
higher position.

In conclusion, the writer may state his belief that the solution of the
gambling evil, as of many other social evils, will never be permanently
effected without a great deepening of the moral and spiritual life of
the nation. Our churches do well to bear in mind that they are not
ends, but merely means to an end. Nay, that religion itself exists for
the production of men and women of high moral character, strong to
resist temptation, strong in their desire after the Kingdom of God and
His righteousness. We want, in our churches, to develop persons with a
vigorous faith, who fully realise the social as well as the spiritual
character of this Kingdom. To this end let us keep the spiritual flame
burning. For a vital, religious faith—the faith that worketh by love—is
at the root of all true and permanent social reform.




The Select Committee appointed to inquire into the increase of public
betting amongst all classes, and whether any legislative measures were
possible and expedient for checking the abuses occasioned thereby,
reported as follows in June 1902:—

1. After hearing much evidence, the Committee are of opinion that betting
is generally prevalent in the United Kingdom, and that the practice of
betting has increased considerably of late years especially amongst
the working classes, whilst, on the other hand, the habit of making
large bets, which used at one time to be the fashion amongst owners and
breeders of horses, has greatly diminished. Betting is not confined to
horse-racing, but is also prevalent at athletic meetings and football

2. Various suggestions have been made to the Committee in explanation of
the alleged spread of betting. It has been urged that the increase in the
practice is only proportional to the growth and increased prosperity of
the industrial population of the country, and that the operation of the
Betting Houses Act, by driving bookmakers into the streets, has brought
their business more to the notice of Magistrates.

3. The Committee are, however, of the opinion that even when due
allowance has been made, both for the increase in the population of
towns, and the rise in wages, betting is undoubtedly more widespread and
general than it used to be.

4. Although the Committee do not look upon betting as a crime in itself,
they yet deplore the spread of a practice which, when carried to excess,
they consider opposed to the true interests of sport, injurious to the
general community, and apt to degenerate into one of the worst and most
mischievous forms of gambling.

5. The Committee consider that the increased prevalence of betting
throughout the country is largely due to the great facilities afforded by
the press, and to the inducements to bet offered by means of bookmakers’
circulars and tipsters’ advertisements.

6. In support of this opinion, the Committee point to the great
increase of newspapers devoted entirely to sporting matters, and to
the publication of articles upon racing news, and of sporting tips or

7. There can be little doubt that the almost universal practice of
publishing in newspapers what are known as “starting-price odds” greatly
facilitates betting upon horse-races, and several witnesses have urged
that the practice should be forbidden by law. Others, however, have
expressed their conviction that the chief results of such prohibition
would be to facilitate and encourage dishonesty among bookmakers.

8. The Committee, having given careful attention to both of these
divergent views, are not prepared to recommend the prohibition.

9. The Committee cannot condemn too strongly the advertisements of
sporting tipsters and others which appear in the columns of many
newspapers. The Committee believe that such advertisements are a direct
inducement to bet, and that much of the news which they profess to give
could only have been obtained by inciting persons employed in racing
stables to divulge secrets. The Committee are therefore of the opinion
that all such advertisements are highly objectionable.

10. The Committee would point out that in France advertisements of this
character are forbidden by law, and several witnesses have urged that
repressive legislation on the same lines should be introduced into this
country. The Committee are of opinion that all such advertisements, as
also betting circulars and notices, should be made illegal.

11. The Committee are convinced that it is impossible altogether to
suppress betting, but they believe that the best method of reducing the
practice is to localise it as far as possible on race-courses and other
places where sport is carried on.

12. Four different means have been suggested of effecting this object:—

    (1) The licensing of bookmakers.

    (2) The establishment of the system of betting known as the
    “Pari Mutuel” or “Totalisator.”

    (3) More effectual methods for stopping betting in the streets.

    (4) To make it illegal for a bookmaker to bet in any place of
    public resort except at the place on which the sport is being
    carried on, and there only in an enclosed space under the
    control of managers who should be held strictly responsible for
    the maintenance of order.

13. The plan of giving licences to bookmakers has been adopted in some of
the Australian Colonies, and, if it were introduced into this country, it
might possibly diminish street betting, and also do much to check fraud
and dishonesty both on the part of the bookmaker and of the backer.

14. But the establishment of such a system in this country is open
to serious objections. In Australia, as the number of bookmakers is
comparatively few, it is possible for the racing clubs, which grant
the licences, to exercise a strict supervision and control. In this
country, where the number of bookmakers is so much greater, it would
be practically impossible for the Jockey Club to undertake the duty of
licensing, and, if the work were undertaken by the State, it would mean
the legal recognition of the bookmaker and necessitate the making of
betting debts recoverable by law.

15. The Committee after mature consideration do not think it would be
desirable to legalise betting in this manner, and are also of the opinion
that the establishment of such a system would rather increase than lessen
the amount of betting prevalent at the present day.

16. The latter objection can also, of course, be brought with equal truth
against the “Pari Mutuel,” as the absolute fairness of the “Totalisator”
system of betting is a protection to the small bettor, who might
otherwise not care to risk his money with a bookmaker.

17. In some of the Australian Colonies, in India, and in France this
system has been adopted, and is said to work satisfactorily. In France
the money invested annually in this way amounts to between six and seven
millions sterling. Two per cent of this sum is given to public charities,
and one per cent goes to the Minister of Agriculture and is devoted to
the encouragement of horse-breeding and to other similar purposes. The
Committee, however, fear that the evil of adopting this system would by
its encouragement of the gambling instinct far outweigh any gain that
might accrue, and therefore cannot recommend it.

18. It has been proved conclusively to the Committee that the practice
of betting in the streets has increased very much of late years, and is
the cause of most of the evils arising from betting among the working

The fact that bookmakers can ply their trade in the open street, and lie
in wait to catch working men in their dinner hour outside factories and
workshops in order to induce them to bet, is undoubtedly a great source
of evil.

19. Evidence has also been brought before the Committee to show that
street bookmakers bet not only with men, but also with women and children.

20. At the present time such offences can only be dealt with as
“obstruction” under various local Acts, or under particular bye-laws in
each town, the penalty in either case and the powers of the police being
inadequate to check the practice.

21. When a street bookmaker is convicted 25 times in four years and is
able to pay £137:8s. in fines and costs (to take a typical example of
many cases which have been brought to the notice of the Committee), it is
obvious that the profits of his calling must be very great, and that the
penalties provided by the law to restrain his trade are not sufficiently

22. The Committee, therefore, recommend that, in view of the acknowledged
evils of this form of betting, there should be further legislation,
enabling Magistrates to send bookmakers to prison without the option of
a fine for the first offence, who have been convicted of betting in the
streets with boys or girls, or otherwise inducing them to bet.

The Committee further recommend that bookmakers convicted of betting in
the streets should be liable to a fine of £10 for the first offence, £20
for the second offence, and that for any subsequent offence it should be
within the discretion of the Magistrate either to impose a fine of not
more than £50 or to send the bookmaker to prison without the option of a
fine. The Committee also recommend that the police should be given the
same power of summary arrest which they possess in cases of obstruction
of the highway.

23. The Committee recommend that the following amendments should be made
in the Betting Houses Act of 1853:—

    (i.) That in view of the uncertainty which has arisen since
    the decision of the Kempton Park case as to what constitutes
    a “place” within the meaning of the Act, further legislation
    should make it quite clear that bookmakers are prohibited from
    carrying on their business in public-houses or in any public

    (ii.) That the meaning of “resorting thereto,” that is, to a
    betting-house, in Section 1 should be extended so as to include
    persons making bets by correspondence or through an agent.

    (iii.) That, if thought necessary, having regard to recent
    decisions, it should be made clear that it is an offence under
    Section 1 for persons to use an office in the United Kingdom
    for obtaining the receipt of money elsewhere, whether within or
    without the United Kingdom, or for the proprietor of the office
    to permit such user.

    (iv.) That Section 7 should be extended so as to include the
    advertisement in this country of any betting-house within the
    meaning of the Act which is kept abroad.

24. The Committee further recommend that the Betting Act of 1874 should
be extended to the advertising of information or advice to be obtained
from any person or at any place, though it may not come within the
description of a betting-house within Section 1 of the Act of 1853, and
whether within or without the United Kingdom.

25. The Committee recommend that the Betting and Loans (Infants) Act
1892 (Lord Herschell’s Act) should be extended to ready-money betting
with infants, that is to say, the receipt of money from an infant as
consideration for a bet to be made with such infant.

26. The Committee recommend that on any race-course bookmakers should
only be allowed to carry on their business within definite rings and

27. Various witnesses have given evidence as to the prevalence of betting
at athletic meetings, and to the difficulty which owners of athletic
grounds have in preventing a practice which they with justice consider
opposed to the best interests of amateur sport.

28. Since the decision in the Kempton Park case, it has been impossible
for the police to stop bookmakers carrying on their trade at athletic
meetings, except at the direct request of the proprietors of the ground.

29. The Committee, therefore, recommend that on any race-course or other
ground on which a sport is being carried on, where a printed notice is
publicly exposed by the responsible authorities to the effect that “No
betting is allowed,” a bookmaker who continues to bet shall be liable to
summary arrest and a fine.

30. It has been suggested in evidence before the Committee that powers
should be given to the Postmaster-General and his principal assistants in
Scotland and Ireland, to open all letters supposed to contain coupons or
betting circulars sent from abroad.

In this connection the Committee have received valuable evidence
from Mr. Lamb, C.B., C.M.G., and Sir Robert Hunter, on behalf of the
Postmaster-General, which makes it impossible for them to recommend the
proposed suggestion.

31. The Committee are, however, of the opinion that the same power as the
Postmaster-General already possesses to stop letters sent in the open
post relating to lotteries should be given to him to stop circulars
relating to coupon competitions, or advertisements of betting commission
agents and sporting tipsters.

32. The Committee do not consider that it would be possible for the
Postmaster-General to make any distinction between the facilities
afforded to betting telegrams and other telegrams.



    A Bill intituled “An Act to amend the Betting Acts 1853 and
    1874, and for other purposes.”

Be it enacted by the King’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the
advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in
this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as

1. The word “resorting” in section one of the Betting Act 1853, and this
Act, shall include applying by the agency of another person or by letter,
telegraph, telephone, or other means of correspondence, and the word
“resort” in section seven of the said Act, and in this Act, shall have
the same meaning.

2. The provisions of section three of the Betting Act 1853 shall extend
and apply to any person opening, keeping, or using, within the United
Kingdom, any house, office, room, or place for the purpose of any money
or valuable thing being received by or on behalf of the keeper of any
betting-house or office situate either within or without the United

3. The provisions of section seven of the Betting Act 1853 shall extend
and apply to any person exhibiting or publishing, or causing to be
exhibited or published, any placard, handbill, card, writing, or other
advertisement whereby it shall appear that any house, office, room,
or place is opened, kept, or used either within or without the United
Kingdom for the purposes in the said section mentioned or referred to, or
any of them, and to any person who shall invite other persons to resort
to any house, office, room, or place either within or without the United
Kingdom for the purposes aforesaid or any of them: Provided that, if
it appear that any such advertisement or invitation has been published
in any registered newspaper inadvertently and without knowledge on the
part of the proprietor or manager of the newspaper of the nature of the
business advertised or the meaning of the contents of the advertisement,
the penalty may be remitted by the court.

4. (1) Any person exercising the business of a bookmaker or betting
agent by betting or offering to bet with other persons or inciting other
persons to bet with him, or receiving money or other valuable thing as
consideration for any bet, or paying or settling any bets in any street
or other public place, or any place to which the public have unrestricted
access, or any house licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquors, shall
be guilty of a misdemeanour, and shall be liable, if convicted for the
first offence, to a fine not exceeding ten pounds, and for the second
offence to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds, and for any subsequent
offence, if convicted on indictment, to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds
or to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for a term not exceeding
six months, without the option of a fine, and, if convicted on a summary
conviction, to a fine not exceeding thirty pounds or to imprisonment,
with or without hard labour, for a term not exceeding three months,
without the option of a fine: Provided always, that if a person be
convicted under this section of betting with any person under the age of
sixteen years or receiving money from or paying money to any such person
or inciting any such person to bet with him he shall be liable for the
first and every subsequent offence to the maximum penalty or imprisonment
hereinbefore imposed for the third and subsequent offences.

(2) All books, cards, papers, and other articles connected with such
betting as aforesaid shall be deemed to be instruments of gaming, and
any person so offending as aforesaid shall be deemed to be a rogue
and vagabond within the meaning of fifth George the Fourth, chapter
eighty-three, and shall be subject to be arrested and searched in
accordance with the provisions in that behalf therein contained.

(3) Any person who appears to the court to be under the age of sixteen
years shall for the purpose of this section be deemed to be under that
age unless the contrary be proved.

(4) For the purpose of this section, the word “street” shall have the
same meaning as in the Public Health Act 1875.

5. The proprietors or persons having the control of any area within which
sports are carried on may exhibit at the entrance or in some conspicuous
place within the same, notices that betting is prohibited within the said
area or some part thereof, and, in that case, any person who shall hold
himself out as ready to bet with other persons, or incite other persons
to bet with him, within the area where betting is so prohibited, shall
be guilty of an offence under this Act, and shall be liable to the same
penalties as he would have been under this Act if he had been convicted
of betting in the street.

6. Any person who knowingly receives money from an infant as
consideration for a bet to be made with him shall be guilty of an offence
within section one of the Betting and Loans (Infants) Act 1892, and
shall be liable to the penalties imposed by that section, and the other
provisions of the said Act shall be applicable to him.

7. (1) The penalties imposed by this Act may be recovered by proceedings
under the Summary Jurisdiction Acts, and, in Scotland, in the manner
provided by section four of the Betting Act 1874, save where otherwise
provided; and, in Scotland, “indictment” has the same meaning as in the
Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1887.

(2) The provisions as to arrest and search contained in Statute of
fifth George the Fourth, chapter eighty-three, shall, by this Act, be
applied to offences under sections four and five of this Act committed in

8. In this Act—

    The word “bookmaker” means a person exercising the business of
    betting with persons resorting to him for the purpose:

    The word “betting agent” means a person acting as agent for a
    bookmaker or for making bets between any two persons.

9. This Act may be cited as the Betting Act 1903, and shall be read with
the Betting Acts 1853 and 1874.

    NOTE.—Lord Davey has just introduced another Bill entitled
    “An Act for the Suppression of Betting in Streets and other
    Public Places” (Eyre and Spottiswoode, London, ½d.). It is a
    very valuable measure, but has been confined for good reasons
    to offences coming under the title of Street Betting. In
    any further legislation it will be necessary to bring the
    advertisements of Betting Houses, the proprietors of which call
    themselves Commission Agents, whether British or Foreign, under
    such provisions as those of the Betting Act 1853 (section 7),
    as pointed out by the Lord Chief Justice.





WITNESSES: Mr. JOHN HAWKE, Honorary Secretary, National Anti-Gambling
League, and Mr. G. H. STUTFIELD, Counsel for the Jockey Club, and for the
Bookmakers and Street Bookmakers.

Mr. HAWKE gave evidence as to the great increase during late years,
especially in street betting at starting prices, and newspaper coupon
betting; also as to betting at athletic sports and in public-houses; as
to the bye-laws being passed by local authorities on street betting, and
the enormous scale upon which coupons are carried on, one proprietor of
an insignificant newspaper receiving between £2000 and £3000 a week in
postal orders, etc., as acknowledged by himself in evidence. After his
conviction his newspaper was advertising the business as continued from

Mr. STUTFIELD (Q. 299) said he believed that artisans of all ages and all
classes, including women, put their small coins on horses through the
street bookmakers.

He did not think (Q. 300, etc.) that such backers—he could not say about
the children—required protection against being over-matched by the

He did not see any reason in legal principle (Q. 435-36) why foreign
coupon houses should be allowed to advertise in English papers, but he
did not think it would do any good to prohibit it.

He agreed that all, or nearly all, such betting as street betting was now
done at starting prices (Q. 308-9), guaranteed by the bookmaker to the
customers by the publication in newspapers of the starting-price odds
(Q. 315-16), but he did not think (Q. 266) its prohibition would stop
starting-price betting, as he expected that bookmakers would form some
plan to reassure their clients (Q. 269) as to their being fairly dealt

He considered that a result of the Kempton Park case was that it was
no infringement (Q. 475-76) of the Betting Act of 1853 for bookmakers
to carry on their business in athletic sports grounds, and that under
that decision (Q. 573) public-houses may practically become betting
exchanges, and sometimes do. The Kempton Park case did not decide that
the race-course ring could not be a place under the Act, but that it was
not used by a person in the position of an occupier or owner (Q. 447-53).

He did not think that new forms and new kinds of betting should be dealt
with in the same way as the 1853 Act dealt with what existed at that
time; and he did not advocate any extension of it (Q. 443-44), as he did
not consider that it was really intended to suppress betting (Q. 443) but
that it may have done a certain amount of good in preventing crowds of
people resorting to a particular house and creating scandal (Q. 438).

He did not, however, consider that the betting in public houses was very
desirable (Q. 517), and would amend the Licensing Act. He did not think
that bye-laws could deal with licensed houses, but that they might put
down betting in streets and public places (Q. 602-3).

He said that if the bookmaker were suppressed there would be no betting
(Q. 535-36), as he thought occasional private bets between individuals
without a bookmaker could not be satisfactory (Q. 532).

With regard to the _friendly_ actions in which Mr. Stutfield had been
engaged as counsel on behalf of the betting men, viz. the _Kempton Park_
case, _Stoddart_ of _Sporting Luck_ against his printers, the _Argus
Printing Co._, and _Thomas_ v. _Sutters_ (the street bookmaker’s appeal
against the bye-law), he maintained that there was nothing improper about
them (Q. 411, 552, 561).

Mr. HAWKE also gave evidence as to the corruption of the public services
and British sports by the professional betting system, and of its
disastrous effects, especially among the wage-earning classes. Amongst
the records of his Society taken from the courts of law in five and a
half years were 80 suicides, 321 embezzlements, and 191 bankruptcies, the
witness pointing out reasons for believing that these numbers were very
much below the true totals.

Mr. HAWKE said that his Society held the same opinion as that published
by Sir Fitzjames Stephen (author of the _Digest of the Criminal Law_) in
the _Nineteenth Century Magazine_, July 1891, who said that the business
of a betting agent was carried on in defiance of the general body of the
law, and added, “The existence of such a person appears to me to be an
insult to the law.” The National Anti-Gambling League made the following
recommendations, based upon a study of the question lasting over eight

    _Street and Public Place Betting._  Increased fines and imprisonment.

    _Newspaper Coupon Betting._         Making it illegal to publish
                                          Advertisements of English
                                          and foreign betting-houses.

    _Tipsters’ Circulars._              Making illegal to issue.

    _Paying Bets in Public-houses._     Making illegal.

    _Areas controlled by Private        Amending the Act of 1853 if
      Proprietors._                       the _Powell_ v. _Kempton Park_
                                          case should be accepted as
                                          the correct construction of
                                          the Act.

    _Publication of the Betting         Making illegal.
      Odds (S.P. or Ante-post)._

    _Trade of Professional Betting._    Making illegal.

Colonel FLUDYER (commanding Scots’ Guards), Chairman of Tattersall’s
Committee, said that they spent a great deal of time in adjusting betting
disputes. He advocated licensing bookmakers who plied their trade away
from the race-course, but leaving things at races as they are.

CHIEF CONSTABLE OF MANCHESTER said that the increase in betting was
chiefly among artisans and the working classes generally, resulting in
neglect of wives and children, disregard for parents, becoming careless
and indifferent in their occupations, and frequent embezzlements from
their employers. Betting was general at athletic meetings in the
Manchester district, many of them depending on it for financial success.
The Kempton Park decision had prevented police action. In many instances
competitors perform only to suit the books of the betting men. Street
betting was the most pernicious form of the evil. Some publicans pay
street bookmakers to carry on in proximity to their houses. He advocated
a large fine and imprisonment for street offenders. Incitements to
betting in newspapers should be restrained, and the transmission by post
of betting matter should be made illegal.

Sir ALBERT DE RUTZEN, chief Metropolitan Police Magistrate, spoke with
twenty-five years’ experience of the Bench in saying that more mischief
was brought about by betting than by almost any other cause, especially
street betting, which could very well be put down if proper steps were
taken. He would increase the fine for a second offence, and for the third
treat a bookmaker as a rogue and vagabond under the Vagrants Act. From
personal knowledge he could say that the evil arising from betting was as
deep-seated as it was possible to be. In cases where persons prosecuted
for embezzlement and betting was mentioned as the cause, his Court was in
the habit of making inquiries, which invariably confirmed the statements.
With regard to the Kempton Park case, he could not understand how they
were not committing an offence on the race-course while they were
condemned for doing the same thing in public-houses.

Mr. HORACE SMITH, Metropolitan Police Magistrate, said he entirely
concurred with what Sir A. de Rutzen had said with regard to the need
for more repressing laws. Where the crime had been one of fraud or
embezzlement he had invariably found that betting had been at the bottom
of it.

Mr. LUKE SHARP, Official Receiver for Birmingham, gave evidence upon
betting as a cause of bankruptcy.

MASTER OF HARROW: Betting in the school was largely due to the parents,
who encouraged it. It was chiefly in the form of sweepstakes on big
races. They also suffered by circulars from foreign betting-houses, which
the Post Office transmitted.

F. W. SPRUCE, a betting man, thought that the number of bookmakers had
greatly increased, that the trade would be improved and street betting
reduced by licensing, but that otherwise there should be free trade in
professional betting.

JAMES SUTTERS, another betting man, also advocated licensing. He thought
that street betting might with advantage be restrained, but considered it
a very respectable trade, although he agreed that it was not becoming
for women.

Mr. CHARLES GOULD, J.P., Epsom, had complained to the Home Office
of the inadequacy of the police force sent to Epsom Races. The last
communication he had received was to the effect that the Home Secretary
had been informed that as there were several thousands of these dishonest
betting men, it would be impossible to provide sufficient police

Mr. RUSSELL ALLEN, managing proprietor of the _Manchester Evening News_,
gave evidence as to the harm done by the betting press, particularly the
halfpenny papers, with their racing editions, which conduced largely
to the class of betting done in the street by working men, concerning
which he read letters from employers of labour attributing fraud and
embezzlement to their work-people betting. Great numbers of bets were
also made inside the works. His own newspaper had given up tips and
tipsters’ advertisements, and had suffered accordingly. It was not
prudent for a newspaper to go beyond that single-handed. If starting
prices were made illegal of publication for all alike, it would have a
great effect.

Superintendent SHANNON, of the L Division, Metropolitan Police, had had
great experience of the evils of street betting. Last year[14] in Lambeth
441 persons had been proceeded against. They were fined over £2000 in
all. One man was fined sixteen times in the year. Every large firm’s
employees in South London were waited on by one or more bookmakers. All
the bookmakers employed scouts to give them warning.

Superintendent WELLS, of the Limehouse Division, said there had been
a great increase in street betting in East London in the last few
years. One man was fined twenty-eight times and one twenty-seven. The
bookmakers took up their stands outside the railway stations and
factories, and in the busy streets. They were thus enabled to catch the
workmen going to or from their work.

Lord Provost CHISHOLM, of Glasgow, gave evidence with the knowledge and
sanction of the Corporation. Betting had increased all round, especially
street betting with the industrial classes. He spoke both from personal
knowledge and the complaints made to him by citizens. Betting was carried
on to a large extent in factories and workshops, the bookmakers sometimes
having their own agents employed in them. He would make the penalties
more severe, and would seize all money found on bookmakers and imprison
them. He believed public opinion would support such measures. He was
opposed to licensing bookmakers. Women were in the habit of betting with
bookmakers like men.

CHIEF CONSTABLE OF GLASGOW: He agreed with the evidence of the previous
witness. Licensing would only encourage the bookmakers. They ought to be
imprisoned. There was very great risk of the police being tampered with
by bookmakers. Some had already been bribed. Many Glasgow bookmakers did
business by telegram and letter. The Post Office had been complained to,
but could do nothing.

Mr. BRYAN THOMAS, Hon. Sec. of a Labour Organisation, said he had forty
years’ experience among the working men of East London. He would do away
with street betting entirely. He would treat the bookmakers as rogues,
and give them three months’ hard labour.

Rt. Hon. JAS. LOWTHER, M.P., a member of the Jockey Club for twenty-five
years, did not think that large bets had increased of late years, but
betting was more widely diffused, and not confined to sporting circles.
He considered that there had been a great increase of betting all round.
He could not suggest any way of reducing the misery caused by it. He saw
difficulties in the way of licensing bookmakers.

Mr. W. B. WOODGATE, the well-known aquatic authority, would license
bookmakers, and would fine any of them practising without a licence £500
or six months’ hard labour. The witness related a case of police bribing
which he had brought before the authorities at Scotland Yard, but it
ended in nothing owing to their careless handling of it.

Mr. EDWARD HULTON,[15] jun., of the Manchester _Sporting Chronicle_, was
against the prohibiting the publication of the odds, and in favour of
licensing bookmakers.

Mr. J. BAIN, formerly a member of Tattersall’s Club, also of the
Victoria, Beaufort, and Albert Clubs, gave evidence as to the poisoning
of race-horses for the purposes of the betting market, and how leading
bookmakers were laying heavily at the club against the poisoned horses
before the general public knew of what had been done. He also showed that
many of the prices quoted in the newspapers were mere bogus quotations to
induce the outside public to bet.

Colonel TANNETT WALKER, a large employer of labour at engineering works
near Leeds, said that betting was the very worst thing any one could take
to, and did a great deal of harm. The workman very often knew nothing
whatever of horses. His usefulness was destroyed by betting, however
skilful he might be, as so much of his time and thought were taken
up with it. He would favour anything that would put a stop to street
betting. The boys were encouraged to bet in the workshops.

Mr. LAMB, second secretary to the Post Office, said there were 82 special
telegraphists engaged at Doncaster Races; 30,000 private telegrams were
sent off. Gambling in any form was regarded as a most serious offence in
that Department, and any of its servants are thereby rendered liable to
dismissal. Employees were often tempted in the course of their duty while
attending to betting telegrams.

Sir ROBERT HUNTER, solicitor to the Post Office, explained that there was
not the same power over betting as over lottery communications, owing to
an interpretation of the Advertising Act of 1874 confining it to such
betting as was localised in a particular house or place.

The DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE, Minister for Education, had been engaged on
racing for a considerable time. Thought that there was nothing wrong
or immoral in betting. He would very much regret its being stopped: it
would seriously injure the national amusement of horse-racing. He thought
betting the support of racing. Saw nothing wrong in the bookmaker’s
profession, and, in reply to a question as to their taking small sums
from children in poor neighbourhoods, he said he had no knowledge of that
sort of betting. He could not give any opinion about licensing. He did
not know at what point betting was too general.

Mr. ROBERT KNIGHT, J.P., Newcastle, for twenty-nine years secretary of a
Trades Union numbering 50,000 members, had thirty-two years’ experience
of the working classes. Betting was largely on the increase among them,
especially young men and women. In three and a half hours a bookmaker in
South Shields was seen to take 236 bets. Bookmakers went from door to
door inducing women to bet. Some took as little as sixpence. Employers
found that intelligent, concentrated effort cannot be got from minds
absorbed in betting. He would neither employ nor trust men who indulged
in it. The facilities offered by the press are largely responsible.
Betting among the young had become rampant. Lads of bright intellect were
found to develop cunning instead of character. If the betting craze
was not checked the sober youths of Germany would take the reins of the
commercial world. The odds, tips, and bettings news should be abolished
from the newspapers. The Trades Unions endeavoured to stop betting, and
would not appoint a man known to indulge in it to any place of authority
or trust.

Rev. J. W. HORSLEY, M.A., J.P., Rector of St. Peter’s, Walworth, for
ten years prison chaplain, during which time 100,000 people passed
through his hands, said betting was a frequent source of trouble. In one
gaol there was a whole wing set apart for these prisoners. It was now
increasing more than ever. He considered the example of the aristocracy
greatly to blame; and said that if the King would stay away from
race-courses where professional betting went on it would do more than
anything else to assist in putting an end to it.



THE LATE CHIEF-JUSTICE RUSSELL.—“Street betting is a most undesirable
practice. A state of things exists which, if it can be stopped, ought to
be stopped.”

Mr. Justice WILLS.—“When I first came upon the Bench I used to think
drink was the most fruitful cause of crime, but it is now a question
whether the unlimited facilities for illegitimate speculation on the part
of people who have no means of embarking on it are not a more prevalent
source of mischief and crime even than drink.”

Mr. Justice HAWKINS.—“I know nothing more likely to ruin a young and
inexperienced man than the system of betting which goes on around us.”

Mr. Justice GRANTHAM.—“Gambling with bookmakers is the cause of more
crime and misery than anything else in the land.”

Mr. Justice DARLING.—“No one could attend the Civil and Criminal Courts
without knowing that many persons spent a much larger amount of time in
betting than they devoted to their own business.”

Mr. HORACE SMITH (London Stipendiary Magistrate).—“Nearly every case
of embezzlement I try has resulted from betting, and then to pay their
losses they rob their employers.”

Alderman SUTTON (Newcastle Magistrate).—“The working men of the north of
England put money on horses, and when they lose take their employers’

CHAIRMAN OF MAGISTRATES (Seacome Bank embezzlement case).—“The whole
secret of the wrongdoing seems to be in the systematic agency employed
all over the country to tempt men from the path of rectitude and virtue.”

Mr. BROS (London Stipendiary Magistrate).—“Betting is generally the
downfall of clerks and servants who are charged with embezzlement.”

CORONER FOR MID-SURREY.—“The poor lad, like many thousands of others,
was led away by the fallacious idea that he was going to make money by
backing horses. Men earning fifteen or twenty shillings a week cannot
afford to lose sixpence in betting.”

CHIEF-CONSTABLE OF SOUTHAMPTON.—“Street betting is a disgrace to the
town. One man is making £1000 a year by it.”

BIRMINGHAM OFFICIAL RECEIVER.—“Half of the bankruptcies which come before
me are due to gambling.”

General WAVELL.—“I have been speaking to an officer, who says it is
perfectly piteous to see the way our young soldiers, drummer boys,
trumpeters, and others rush off to get the halfpenny newspapers, not to
ascertain how their comrades are faring, but simply to get the betting
odds and nothing else.”

BRADFORD SCHOOL BOARD RESOLUTION.—“The attention of the Board having
been called to the general prevalence of betting and gambling, and
the appalling evils arising therefrom, it is hereby resolved that the
teachers be requested to take every opportunity to point out to the
scholars the injurious effect of the vice.”

Mr. CURTIS BENNETT (Marylebone Police Court).—“I am convinced from my
experience as a Magistrate that nothing is so productive of crime among
young people as street betting. It is an evil far worse than drunkenness,
and I agree with Mr. Justice Wills that it is the greatest curse of this

CHAIRMAN OF CROYDON BENCH.—“It seems a very good paying game. I think
the Government, as soon as they have time, will have to take into
consideration whether the law should not be altered.” These remarks were
called forth by a bookmaker who had been summoned, producing a handful
of sovereigns, and suggesting that it would save time for him to pay the
fine at once without the evidence being heard.


    Alderman OAKLEY, J.P.—“The Watch Committee reports show that
    betting is much on the increase. It is even affecting school

    Alderman DILLINGHAN.—“It breaks up many homes and leads people
    to rob their employers. It is the forerunner of drunkenness.”

    THE DEPUTY MAYOR.—“It is a grave temptation.”

    Mr. WARREN.—“It is bringing a great calamity on the land. It is
    one of the biggest evils England has to contend with. The young
    people in Luton are led away to an alarming extent.”

Alderman Sir J. RENALS.—“Street betting has become an intolerable
nuisance in the city.”

LORD CHIEF-JUSTICE (Lord ALVERSTONE).—“Sport never ought to be of
necessity associated with gambling or betting. Those who had to do with
the administration of the law knew that there was nothing in their great
towns—and he was afraid in the smaller ones too—that brought more people
in the humbler walks of life misery and ruin than the betting agents.”

BISHOP OF LIVERPOOL (Dr. CHAVASSE).—“He called upon them, in the name of
their Master Christ, to rise up and fight this awful foe of gambling and
betting, lest they ate the heart out of the Church and nation, and a just
God punished them with a righteous retribution.”

RECORDER OF BATH (Mr. H. C. FOLKARD).—“He was afraid that the pernicious
practice of betting and gambling was becoming very prevalent throughout
the country. Many gave way to the evil who were in good situations and
positions of trust. The bookmakers were a great evil.”

Lord CHARLES BERESFORD.—“The worst of all vices. On board a ship it is
particularly pestilent. Its practice has destroyed many fine characters,
and has been the means of causing unbounded misery to innocent and
deserving persons.”

Sir GEORGE WHITE (of Ladysmith).—“I know the evil effects of gambling.
Society in which gambling is promoted fails in all the higher aims.
Instead of its members being drawn into real friendship, they generally
dislike and distrust each other.”

Admiral Sir H. H. RAWSON.—“I have no hesitation in saying that next to
drunkenness I think gambling is one of the worst and most dangerous of
the vices. I have always set my face against it, as I have seen three or
four cases where it has led to most terrible consequences. It becomes a
regular mania and an absorbing business.”

Admiral SWINTON HOLLAND.—“It is ruining some of our finest English
sports, specially football.”

PRINCE LOUIS OF BATTENBERG.—“As regards a man-of-war, there is one aspect
which is not always borne in view. Two men of different service rank
gambling together; the senior loses money to the junior, perhaps more
than he can pay at once. Think of the effect on discipline.”

Mr. J. G. BUTCHER, M.P.—“I am disposed to think (though I have no
accurate information upon the subject) that the practice of betting
and gambling prevails amongst larger sections of the community than in
former times. If that be so, I regard it as a national calamity. Once the
practice is begun it is exceedingly difficult for those who engage in it
to limit their losses to such sums as they can easily afford to lose. The
best forms of sport—such as cricket, football, and even horse-racing—can,
in my judgment, be most fully enjoyed without staking money on the

Mr. RICHARD BELL, M.P. (Secretary Amalgamated Society Railway
Servants).—“There is nothing, to my mind, which is so damning to the
progress of the working classes as the gambling which is now practised
in every town in England. This is not, unfortunately, confined to
horse-racing, but it has now spread to football, cricket, and almost
everything else. During the period of prosperity, when a large number of
workers are earning good wages, it is regrettable to think that they do
not take care of the few extra shillings they then receive, but indulge
so freely in drinking and gambling, so that when they are meeting with a
little depression they are entirely at the mercy of the employers, and
have to put up with circumstances which they otherwise would not.”

ARCHBISHOP OF YORK.—“I heartily wish you success in your effort to stay
the progress of this terrible plague, which is bringing misery and ruin
upon thousands of our fellow-countrymen.”

Mr. Justice RIDLEY.—“The Gaming Act, though designed to prevent betting,
has not brought about that result.”

COMMON SERJEANT OF LONDON.—“Gambling in hopes of realising large profits
by chance, then when they lost instead of winning they were impelled to
reimburse themselves by dishonesty.”

Mr. Justice BUCKNILL.—“This betting curse, which is being carried on in a
shocking manner, has got to be put down with a severe hand, and, so far
as I am concerned, I will do so to the utmost of my power.”

JOHN HAWKE (Hon. Sec. National Anti-Gambling League).—“Gambling is
becoming a worse evil and a more serious cause of poverty than drink.”

Rt. Hon. Sir HENRY CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN.—“I long ago formed the opinion
that betting and gambling come next to drink (and doubt even if they come
below it) in the measure of the curse they bring upon society.”

The late G. F. WATTS.—“I look across our English world and see clearly
and distinctly the two vices which, more than anything else, are
obstructing the wheels of progress: drinking and gambling. They are
apparent to the least observant of men. You cannot take up a paper or
walk through the streets of a city, without realising the awful ruin
which these two evils are working in the world. But if this is the
general agreement of mankind, why is there no concentration of national
energy on the subject? Think how great a revolution would be wrought
in English character and in English health if legislation set itself
sternly to the task of preventing drunkenness and gambling. Just those
two things! Is it not possible for political parties to sink their party
differences, and to combine to fight against these two root causes of
national degeneration and national unrest? Surely, surely!”



    The following notes may prove interesting, as showing how
    attempts are made to corrupt one of the best and healthiest of
    all sports.

MR. CHARLES SOUCH says:—“I am now groundsman for the Cheetham Cricket
Ground, Cheetham, Manchester, and I reside near the ground. I was for
several years groundsman for the Manchester Athletic Club, Fallowfield.

“I have taken a prominent part in sports and athletic meetings all over
the country for the past twenty-three years, and am still running. I have
fifty-five medals, watches, clocks, cups, etc., etc., which I have won to
any number.

“In 1892 I won the Northern Cross-country 10-mile Championship. I ran
second to Parry in 1888 in the National Challengeship. I could fill pages
of races I have taken part in and athletic meetings I have attended, but
you want my experience of the honesty or otherwise of persons competing
and taking part in these sports. Well, my opinion is, and I may say it is
perfectly plain to be seen by any one who likes to look, that wherever
there are betting men and bookmakers at athletic meetings then the
running is dishonest. It is true that I have attended amateur athletic
sports in a small way where absolutely no betting was done; then every
person competing tried his very best, but this is the exception.

“On one occasion, at a small meeting near Coventry, I was on the scratch
at a half-mile hurdle race. I was giving 100 yards limit. Just prior to
the race starting, a man—one of the competitors—came to me and asked me
to stand down,—meaning for me not to win,—and said he would make it all
right for me. I refused, and meant to try and win, as I may say I always
did. This was done in order to allow a certain man to win, and the man
who asked was in league with a bookmaker. During the race, and when at
the second hurdle, the man I have just referred to was in front of me.
Whilst jumping the hurdle he purposely tumbled in front of me and fetched
me to the ground. He detained me a little, and the result was his man got
first and I was second. This was a flagrant case, and I complained to the
officials, but nothing came of it.

“In 1889, on Whit-Monday, I went to Wrexham and took part in several
events at a meeting there, and in the three miles scratch race, when I
had run about the half distance, a bookmaker came on to the course and
caught hold of me; I wrestled with him and got away; I ultimately won the
race in spite of this obstruction. Nothing was done to this man, although
he was known.

“I have known in my time any number of men who called themselves amateurs
and who regularly attended athletic meetings, and after having won their
‘heats’ absolutely made no attempt to win the finals. Some of these men I
have known to be kept by bookmakers and never did any work, but attended
these meetings and worked in collusion with the bookmakers.

“I have often been stopped in the middle of a race by other runners
stepping in front of me, causing me to go round them.

“I could go on recounting similar experiences, but there is a sameness
about them all. There is not one quarter of the so-called amateur
athletes who try to win, and what I say is quite plain to be seen by any

“Another common practice is when the runners are leaving the
dressing-tent to hear whispers that so-and-so is going to try and
so-and-so is not trying, and in many instances, to my own knowledge, the
thing is arranged before they leave the tent.

“During the time of a meeting certain men who have entered as runners
can be seen leaving the tent just as the runners are turning out and go
to the bookmakers, giving the tip as to who is to try and who is not.
Finally, my opinion—and, as I have already said, I have had twenty-three
years’ experience—is that the whole system is rotten. The same system
obtains in connection with cycle racing, only more so. I would add,
however, that if you clear the ground of betting men and bookmakers then
you will have more honest sport; as it is at present it is absolutely
dishonest. I have been afraid after a race to meet some of these people,
and usually got out of the way as soon as possible. As a matter of
fact, on one occasion when going for my prizes some fellow—no doubt a
bookie—struck me from the crowd a violent blow on the eye, making it
black, simply because I had refused to be bought. I have been offered
sums of money times and times beyond number to sell myself to them, but
I always declined. Perhaps if I had lent myself to that practice I would
have had more money now than I have.”



LORD DURHAM, speaking at the Gimcrack Club Dinner in York on Friday
December 9, 1904, drew attention to the evil of the tipster in terms
which caused quite a commotion in the sporting press of the country.
He said that “representations were made to clerks of courses that they
should saddle themselves with impracticable duties, and race-course
managers were instructed how to conduct their meetings by people who had
not the slightest knowledge of race-courses, and paid no consideration
to the material factors that in many cases hampered their action. He
knew that some people paid very little attention to what sporting
writers said, but there were thousands of people who were unable to
judge independently, and if they believed what they read would gain a
false impression of the Turf, and of the habits and characters of its
supporters. His object in mentioning this matter was twofold. One was to
warn the racing public not to pay too much attention to those writers,
and the other was to suggest to such sporting newspapers that professed
to uphold the morality of the Turf—and he mentioned the _Sportsman_, the
_Sporting Life_, and the _Sporting Chronicle_, which he challenged to
prove their good intentions—a very desirable reform, and that was simply
to refuse to publish what was known as tipsters’ advertisements, those
scoundrels who exercised a most pernicious influence upon the Turf.
The representatives of the _Sportsman_, the _Sporting Life_, and the
_Sporting Chronicle_ were examined upon this very question before the
House of Lords’ Committee, and every member of that Committee knew very
well that the members of the Jockey Club and the owners and trainers
all expressed their utmost detestation of these tipsters. They knew
that there was not a trainer in England who could not tell them what
a curse these tipsters and touts were amongst their stable lads. They
attempted to suborn them and to bribe them to betray stable secrets.
What were stable secrets after all? He considered that they were merely
the fulfilment of his duty on the part of a trainer, whose business and
desire was to keep his employers informed as to the progress and the
wellbeing of their property committed to his care. Outsiders had no more
right to try to obtain by illicit means information on these matters
than a burglar had to break into a house and steal property. If these
sporting newspapers denied that these tipsters obtained information by
improper means he thought they would be on the horns of a dilemma. If
they did not obtain this information by corrupt means he should like
these sporting papers to explain why they accepted money from tipsters
for advertisements which professedly did claim to obtain this information.

“The alpha and omega of the tipster’s trade was misrepresentation. It
was to their interests to say that all trainers were disloyal to their
owners, and that jockeys pulled their horses. A friend of his this
year out of curiosity subscribed to one of the most notorious of these
tipsters. He wrote to say that he was not satisfied with the result, that
he had expected some more reliable and exclusive information for his
money, that he could not go on subscribing for such bad tips. The man
replied with a long rigmarole to the effect that the horses had been
fancied and backed by their owners, but that they raced most peculiarly,
and added, ‘but what could they do when the jockeys who rode them would
not let them show their true form.’ This tipster advertised largely; he
had hundreds and probably thousands of clients, and if he had written in
a similar strain to many of these foolish creatures, was it not easy to
understand why small owners and trainers were made out to be rogues. I am
sure,” said Lord Durham with emphasis, “there is not an honest man on the
turf who will not agree that these tipsters and their circulars should be
suppressed. I would commend the example of the _Truth_ newspaper, which
for some years has most zealously denounced some of the most notorious
of these wretches. I am certain I have made a speech which will not be
very highly eulogised by the sporting press, but if I have on my side
some of those honourable and straightforward sporting writers to whom I
have alluded as being too few in number to counteract the evil of the
majority, I will bear with equanimity any adverse criticism” (_Yorkshire
Herald_, December 10, 1904).

The following extracts from _Truth_, February 11, 1904, will serve to
emphasise the accuracy of Lord Durham’s observations:—

_Turf Tipsters, Betting Agents, and System-mongers_

Whether one agrees or not with Lord Beaconsfield’s uncompromising
condemnation of the Turf as a vast engine of national demoralisation, it
is impossible to deny that the racing world provides an exceptionally
fertile field for the practice of fraud and trickery that is akin to
fraud. Nowhere else do knaves prey upon fools so easily, so safely, and
so profitably. Take first the case of the tipsters. It is well within
the mark to say that nine-tenths of these gentry live by lying. If
they did not tell lies they could not sell their tips. Many of them
circulate absolutely fictitious lists of winners that they have found,
and practically all of them make pretences as to the sources of their
information and the infallibility of their prophecies that they know to
be false. If their judgment or prevision enabled them to foresee the
results of races with the consistency that they claim, it stands to
reason that they would not be offering to sell tips to all and sundry
when, however small their capital at starting, they might be piling up a
fortune by backing horses for themselves. But this obvious consideration
never crosses the mind of the gullish herd of backers. No story of his
successes that a tipster puts forward is too steep for them, and as fast
as one lot of dupes is disillusioned he gets another. The following is
a list of some of the false prophets of the Turf whom I have pilloried
during the past twelve months:—

    E. W. BESTON, Birmingham.—During the flat-racing season, which
    is also the principal flat-catching season, this individual
    issues a weekly paper called the _Midland Referee_, nominally
    priced at sixpence, but sent out gratuitously, in which
    vituperative attacks upon rival tipsters are mingled with
    extravagant puffs of “Dan Bruce,” “Miss Flossie Beresford,”
    “Percy Macdonald,” “James Brown,” “Reginald Vernon,” “Walter
    Hooley,” “George Leslie,” “George Graham,” “E. Allsopp,”
    “Hugh Owen,” “George Westwood,” etc. All these are aliases
    under which Beston himself carries on business as a tipster
    from a number of accommodation addresses in Birmingham and
    the neighbourhood. He bamboozles people into buying his tips
    not only through the medium of the _Midland Referee_, but
    by means of advertisements in his various aliases in many
    English and Irish newspapers, and by extensive distribution of
    circulars through the post. Not long since I gave a case in
    which a greenhorn paid Beston as “Flossie Beresford” £3 for
    twenty sixpenny telegrams containing forty predictions, of
    which only four came off! It is unnecessary to cite examples
    of the unblushing mendacity of this Protean rascal, or to
    describe in detail the artful dodges that he practises,
    but one ramp that he carried out last October is worthy of
    notice. Besides the _Midland Referee_, Beston publishes the
    _Winning Guide_ and other rags which he represents as sporting
    journals. In October, some days before the Cesarewitch was
    run, advertisements appeared announcing that a specimen copy
    of the _Secret Special_, containing a “certainty” for that
    handicap, would be sent free to any applicant. The copies so
    supplied were dated the Monday before the Cesarewitch, but were
    not posted in Birmingham till the following Wednesday evening,
    three or four hours after the race had been run. It is easy
    to prophesy after the event, and these copies of the _Secret
    Special_ named the outsider which won the Cesarewitch. But
    Beston knows his public, and no doubt many mugs, too obtuse to
    see that this wonderful “tip” had been printed when the race
    was over, were bagged as subscribers to the _Secret Special_—a
    mere tipster’s circular—at 5s. a week.

    FRED COBB, 6 Ludgate Arcade, E.C.—Styles himself the “manager”
    of a diminutive tipster’s publication called the _Peerless
    Special_, for which subscriptions are invited at the rate of
    5s. a copy, or £5: 5s. for the racing season. On at least one
    occasion last season he circulated specimen copies which,
    though dated before, were printed after an important race,
    thereby enabling him to give the name of the winner. When he
    really does “tip” prior to a race Cobb is less successful. In
    one number of the _Peerless Special_ he gave fourteen horses,
    and among the whole lot there was not a solitary winner.

    MACDONALD, 14 Whitcomb Street, Pall Mall.—Publishes a small
    four-page tipster’s sheet entitled the _Turf Pioneer_, besides
    supplying “guarantee wires” and “invincible daily telegrams.”
    One number of the _Turf Pioneer_ named six horses for races
    that week. Five of them never started; the sixth was beaten.

    FRED RICKABY, 45 Regent Square, Brighton.—Nine losers out
    of ten selections was this prophet’s record one week;
    nevertheless, he at once issued a circular in quest of fresh
    customers, claiming that he had given seven winners and only
    three losers.

    “R. ORMONDE AND CO.,” 14 New Street, Birmingham.—Represent
    themselves as “part owners of several useful horses,” and
    specially circularise such persons as the “head boots” at

    CHARLES ROBINSON, Smith Street, Epsom.—Refers in his circulars
    to that “estimable journal, _Truth_,” but, needless to say,
    does not mention my warnings against Charles Robinson.

    ARTHUR MACCALL, Archdale House, Marlborough Road, St. John’s
    Wood.—Offers to return the money paid by any one dissatisfied
    with his tips. Having paid 20s. for five wires, all “wrong
    ’uns,” a victim asked for the return of that sum. MacCall
    replied by sending a circular bragging of his “march of
    triumph,” and offering more wires at the same price!

    “V. VEE,” Morion House, Newmarket.—Pretends to be an owner of
    race-horses. There is reason to believe that “V. Vee” is an
    alias of the above-mentioned Arthur MacCall.

    “JOHN KINGFIELD,” otherwise “Frank Foreman,” the Post Office,
    ——.—Through the supineness of the Postmaster-General, this
    travelling tipster is allowed to use the Post Office in
    different towns where races are being held as an accommodation

    M. B. PIZZEY, Heath Villa, Ascot.—This tipster formerly owned
    a number of race-horses, but owing to exposures in _Truth_ the
    Jockey Club forced him to give up his ownership under a threat
    of being “warned off” the Turf. Now an ordinary touting tipster.

    “ARTHUR MORDAUNT,” Oak Villa, Ascot.—Pizzey under another name.

    “CAPTAIN” W. GOUGH, Chavey Down, Bracknell, Berks.—Supposed to
    be connected with Pizzey.

    —— KEEBLE, H.M. Prison, Wormwood Scrubbs.—Now serving six
    months’ hard labour for fraudulently offering tips in the
    name of Mr. W. H. Schwind, an owner. Another rascal last year
    perpetrated a similar swindle by assuming the name of Mr.

    HOBDAY, 3 Bridge Avenue Mansions, Hammersmith.—An ornament
    of the profession who, having backed his own tips and lost,
    pleaded the Gaming Act when the confiding bookmaker sued him.

    J. ALEXANDER, 5 New Turnstile, W.C.—A trickster pretending that
    he works “for a gentleman who has made a fortune out of the

    H. SINCLAIR, _The Excelsior_.—Sends out under this title a tiny
    sheet containing “tips” of races run two or three hour’s before
    it was posted, the object being to secure subscribers for a
    “daily wire service.”

    ARTHUR CRADDOCK, 16 Air Street, Piccadilly.—Distributes tips
    by circular unsolicited, and when he chances to name a winner
    forwards another circular demanding “remuneration.”

    H. HIBBERT, Florinda Villa, Stevenage Road, Fulham.

    L. RIVERS, 1 Conway Cottages, Lower Station Road, Newmarket.

    J. J. KIRK, Southwick, and 115 Queen’s Road, Brighton.

    MANSER, 123 Holloway Road, London.

Old-fashioned race-course welshing is, I believe, not quite so prevalent
as it used to be. The up-to-date welsher adopts a less hazardous plan
of campaign. Instead of running the gauntlet of an angry mob on the
race-course, he does his swindling more sedately in an office, where he
is out of the reach of his victims. Calling himself a commission agent
or a Turf accountant, he advertises in the Press or sends out circulars
inviting backers to open accounts with him. When they lose he takes their
money; when they win he refuses to pay up. I cannot say that I have any
sympathy for the greenhorns who are plundered by these bandits of the
Turf. There are plenty of bookmakers who carry on their business in a
perfectly honest and straightforward manner. But a man is not necessarily
one of this class because he sends out a speciously-worded circular
from an office in the West End or elsewhere; and if people will be so
stupid as to open betting accounts on the strength of such circulars,
knowing nothing of the party with whom they are dealing beyond what he
has himself told them, it seems to me that they need the lesson they
are pretty certain to receive. The following are circularising betting
agents who have come under my notice during the past year:—

    JOHN FENWICK AND CO., 167 Piccadilly.—A defaulter.

    G. H. CHARDSON, 25 Wellington Street, Strand.—A defaulter.

    CHARLES KITTELL, 21 Copthall Avenue, E.C.—A defaulter.

    FLOYD MCDERMOTT AND SCOTT, 58 Gillett Row, Thornton

    S. RUSSELL.—A welsher whose address is frequently changed.
    Describes himself in his circulars as “member of Tattersall’s

    GEORGE SILKE, 3 James Street, Haymarket.—A defaulter.
    Represents himself as a member of Tattersall’s, which is untrue.

    “MALLARD AND CO.” and “GEORGE SHAW,” 10 Dawes Street,
    S.W.—Names used by a swindler whose only known address is a
    small shop where letters are taken in for him.

    EDGAR AND CO., 24 Trevor Square, Knightsbridge.—Sharps whose
    impudent method of “doing” a customer out of a considerable sum
    of money I exposed last October.

    HARRY WILLIAMS, Piccadilly Circus Mansions, 67a Shaftesbury
    Avenue, W.—Upon being asked to pay an account a week after the
    settling day, Williams refused to pay at all, on the ground
    that an application for the money was an “impertinence.”

    ALEC A. HARRIS AND CO., Agra, Gresham Road, Staines.—This
    is seemingly an alias chosen to induce incautious backers
    to believe that they are dealing with Alex. Harris, a
    well-known and highly-respected bookmaker. Needless to say,
    Mr. Alex. Harris is not in any way connected with this shady
    starting-price office at Staines.

    C. B. RAE, 12 Duke Street, S.W.—Before he blossomed forth as a
    touting bookmaker this individual, whose real name is Sydney
    Reed, practised as a solicitor and was implicated in a cruel

    ROBERT ADAMSON, Disraeli Gardens, Putney.—A harpy who tries
    to bribe club servants into furnishing him with the names of
    likely gulls.

    J. GORDON YOUNGLY, Bedford Hotel Chambers, Covent
    Garden.—States in his circulars that “your name as a sportsman”
    has been given to him by “Mr. T. Forrester, 21 London Street,
    E.C.” This is an accommodation address, and “Mr. T. Forrester”
    is apparently J. Gordon Youngly under another name.

    C. BENNETT, King William Street, E.C.—Professes to have Army
    officers and City merchants for his clients, but specially
    circularises “the coachman” at country houses.

With an infantile ingenuousness which is little short of downright
idiocy, people are found ready not only to credit the existence of
infallible systems of betting, but to hand over their cash without the
least security to any stranger undertaking to “invest” it in the working
of such a system. Most of the gentry whose prospectuses promise fabulous
profits upon “investments” of this kind are much too astute to attempt to
work any system of betting. They simply put the money in their pockets,
and in due course inform the investor that owing to an unexampled run of
bad luck the system has failed:—

    A. JACKSON AND CO., The Hague, Holland.—Invites people to
    trust him with money for investment upon any one of a series
    of “systems” explained in his prospectus. If the system chosen
    happens to show a profit for a few days, Jackson declines
    to return the capital or pay over the winnings, sticking to
    the money till it has been (as he alleges) lost. One mug
    sent Jackson £100, and in the first week won (on paper) £56.
    Ignoring his orders to stop, Jackson went on working (or
    pretending to work) the system for another fortnight, by which
    time the £156 had all disappeared. An action was then brought
    and Jackson pleaded the Gaming Act.

    BEVAN, SON, AND THOMPSON, Delft, Holland.—Promoters of turf
    sweepstakes, and suspected of being identical with the
    above-mentioned Jackson.

    BROWN, BELL, AND CO., 18 Featherstone Buildings, W.C.—Ordinary
    system-mongering sharps.

    C. WOOD, 148 Old Street, E.C.—Advertises in the daily papers
    that “£5 invested pays £1 weekly,” and offers shares in a
    syndicate for backing first favourites. The syndicate’s capital
    is always lost, and Wood goes on his way rejoicing at the
    gullibility of the public.

    J. L. AUCKLAND, 132 Kilmorie Road, Crofton Park.—By way of
    variation upon the more familiar first favourite system, this
    scoundrel pretends to use his dupes’ money in backing “the last
    horse quoted” in the betting returns published in the press the
    day after a race. A transparent fraud, as in nine races out of
    ten it is impossible for anybody to know beforehand which of
    several outsiders starting at the same price will be “the last
    horse quoted” in the betting returns next day.

    FOSTER, NASH, AND CO., 37 Graveney Road, London, S.W.—Another
    swindler practising precisely the same trick as J. L. Auckland.

The following are proprietors of illegal racing lotteries whose
operations have been noticed in _Truth_:—

    DORMICE AND CO., Middelburg, Holland.—The alias of D.
    Mackenzie, proprietor of _Sporting Luck_. Runs racing
    sweepstakes in connection with which grave doubts have arisen
    as to the genuineness of the alleged distribution of the
    principal prizes.

    J. H. ADAMS, Middelburg.—In the same line of business as
    Dormice and Co.



Monday, October 3, 1904—Nottingham.

          Race.        |Predicted Winner. |Won or Lost. |  Gain.   | Loss.
  Castle Selling Plate | Cricket          | Won         | £2 10 0  |   ..
  Bestwood Nursery     | Lador            | Lost        |    ..    | £1 0 0
    Plate              |                  |             |          |
  Lenton Firs Plate    | Bicarbonate      | Non-Starter |    ..    |   ..
  Trent Plate          | Matchboard       | Lost        |    ..    |  1 0 0
  Nottingham Handicap  | Whistling Crow   | Non-Starter |    ..    |   ..
  Rufford Abbey Plate  | Queen of the     | Lost        |    ..    |  1 0 0
                       |   Lassies        |             |          |
                       |                  |             | £2 10 0  | £3 0 0

Tuesday, October 4, 1904—Nottingham.

  Barnby Manor Nursery | Bright Eyes      | Lost        |    ..    | £1 0 0
    H’cap              |                  |             |          |
  Welbeck Plate        | Best Light       | Lost        |    ..    |  1 0 0
  Sherwood Forest      | Golden Measure   | Lost        |    ..    |  1 0 0
    Nursery Pl’te      |                  |             |          |
  Colwick Park Plate   | Ariosto          | Lost        |    ..    |  1 0 0
  Elvaston Castle      | Corunna          | Lost        |    ..    |  1 0 0
    Plate              |                  |             |          |
  Bentinck Plate       | Haresfield       | Non-Starter |    ..    |   ..
                       |                  |             |          | £5 0 0

Wednesday, October 5, 1904—Leicester.

  Maiden T.Y.O. Plate  | Jongleuse        | Non-Starter |    ..    |   ..
  Gopsall Plate        | Topiary          | Non-Starter |    ..    |   ..
  Midland Nursery      | Vita             | Non-Starter |    ..    |   ..
    Handicap           |                  |             |          |
  Randcliffe Plate     | Ice Bird         | Lost        |    ..    | £1 0 0
  Camp Handicap        | Cleeve           | Lost        |    ..    |  1 0 0
  Melton Plate         | Bilbao           | Non-Starter |    ..    |   ..
                       |                  |             |          | £2 0 0

Thursday, October 6, 1904—Leicester.

  Bradford Handicap    | Van Voght        | Non-Starter |    ..    |   ..
  Kegworth Handicap    | Accroc           | Non-Starter |    ..    |   ..
  Welbeck Plate        | More Trouble     | Lost        |    ..    | £1 0 0
  October Handicap     | Boycot           | Non-Starter |    ..    |   ..
  Village Nursery      | Pelf Colt        | Lost        |    ..    |  1 0 0
    Handicap           |                  |             |          |
  Apprentices Plate    | Merry Andrew     | Lost        |    ..    |  1 0 0
                       |                  |             |          | £3 0 0

Friday, October 7, 1904—Kempton Park.

  Wick Plate           | Thunderbolt      | Won         |  £0 5 8½ |   ..
  Half-Moon Nursery    | Nanclee          | Lost        |    ..    | £1 0 0
    Handicap           |                  |             |          |
  Imperial Plate       | Signorino        | Lost        |    ..    |  1 0 0
  Park Selling Plate   | Ogbourne Pet     | Lost        |    ..    |  1 0 0
  Coventry Handicap    | St. Emilion      | Non-Starter |    ..    |   ..
  Richmond Handicap    | Niphetos         | Lost        |    ..    |  1 0 0
                       |                  |             |  £0 5 8½ | £4 0 0

Saturday, October 8, 1904—Kempton Park.

  Stanley Plate        | Percussion       | Won         |  £2 0 0  |   ..
  Brentford Plate      | Gascony          | Lost        |    ..    | £1 0 0
  Duke of York Stakes  | General Cronje   | Lost        |    ..    |  1 0 0
  Vauxhall Plate       | Cricket          | Won         |   4 0 0  |   ..
  Kempton Park Nursery | Reggio           | Lost        |    ..    |  1 0 0
    H’cap              |                  |             |          |
  Rivermead Handicap   | Golden Saint     | Non-Starter |    ..    |   ..
                       |                  |             |  £6 0 0  | £3 0 0


                   Gain.        Loss.
    Monday       £2 10 0        £3 0 0
    Tuesday                      5 0 0
    Wednesday                    2 0 0
    Thursday                     3 0 0
    Friday        0  5 8½        4 0 0
    Saturday      6  0 0         3 0 0
                 -----------   -------
                 £8 15 8½      £20 0 0

      Loss            £20  0 0
      Gain              8 15 8½
          Total Loss  £11  4 3½

    _Note._—In the above sporting tips twelve horses were
    _non-starters_. Had the bets been one shilling each instead
    of one pound, the loss would have been 11s., a sum obviously
    beyond the resources of a working man.

These results were given in the _Daily News_, and cover the flat-racing
season from March 23 to November 28, 1903:—

    |                    |       |      |  Total  |   £1     |
    |       Paper.       | Lost. | Won. | Winning |  Fixed   |
    |                    |       |      |  Odds.  |  Stake.  |
    | Daily Express      |  670  |  299 |  678·93 | Won   £8 |
    | Jockey             |  696  |  243 |  687·86 | Lost   9 |
    | Racehorse          |  566  |  240 |  555·52 |  ”    11 |
    | Chilton’s Guide    |  357  |  132 |  341·16 |  ”    16 |
    | Morning Leader     |  690  |  309 |  667·93 |  ”    22 |
    | Gale’s             |  639  |  231 |  501·85 |  ”    37 |
    | Sportsman          |  738  |  285 |  679·02 |  ”    59 |
    | Daily Mail         |  642  |  278 |  574·19 |  ”    68 |
    | Racing World       |  696  |  275 |  626·19 |  ”    70 |
    | Standard           |  872  |  313 |  781·22 |  ”    91 |
    | Star               |  750  |  317 |  635·36 |  ”   114 |
    | Sporting Chronicle |  785  |  299 |  669·68 |  ”   115 |
    | Diamond Special    |  482  |  169 |  365·83 |  ”   116 |
    | Daily Sport        |  895  |  293 |  768·20 |  ”   127 |
    | Advertiser         |  724  |  259 |  589·36 |  ”   135 |
    | Sporting World     |  886  |  303 |  747·44 |  ”   139 |
    | Sporting Life      | 1327  |  411 | 1179·25 |  ”   147 |
    | Telegraph          |  928  |  345 |  724·67 |  ”   203 |

The following are taken from a day’s selections—January 7, 1905—and show
how the tips for hurdle-racing are even more unreliable than those for


    London Star               { 6 selections
      (Capt. Coe’s Specials)  {       —all wrong.

    Middleham Opinion         { 3 selections (one “best thing”)
      (Mentor)                {       —all wrong.

    The Jockey                { 5 selections (one “special”)
                              {       —all wrong.

    Racehorse (Admiral)       { 1 selection (“one horse nap”)
                              {       —wrong.

    Early Bird’s Finals       { 6 selections (one “good,” one “selected”)
                              {       —all wrong.

    Sun Dawn’s Finals         { 6 selections (one “good”)
                              {       —1 right (_not_ the “good”).

    Form’s Finals             { 6 selections
                              {       —2 right.

    Presto’s Double           { Double selection for two races
                              {       —wrong.

    Sunday Chronicl.          { 4 selections
      (Galliard)              {       —all wrong.

    Sunrise’s Finals          { 6 selections
                              {       —all wrong.

    Victor’s Finals           { 6 selections (one “nap,” one “good”)
                              {       —1 right (neither “nap” nor “good”).

    Yorkshire Herald          { 6 selections (one “starred”)
      (Yorkshireman)          {       —all wrong.

    Yorkshire Press           { 6 selections (one “special”)
      (Ivanhoe)               {       —2 right (_not_ the “special”).

              Result                {  6 right.
                                    { 57 wrong.

There are many examples of the inaccuracy of sporting tips in the
evidence of the Select Committee on Betting. The best are given below:—


    (_a_) Manchester: out of 40 selected winners, not a single one
    was right.

    (_b_) Seven sporting papers gave 79 horses: in 74 cases their
    predictions were wrong.

    (_c_) Case of the _Standard_, which selected 179 horses for 148
    races: 155 were wrong, and 24 right.

    (_d_) In 7 races the chief sporting papers gave in one week 45
    horses, of which 40 were wrong; again, they gave 47 horses, of
    which only 1 was right.

    (_e_) In one month the chief sporting papers gave 898 horses
    for 156 races, out of which 777 lost.—_Vide_ p. 183 of Report.


    The Duke of Portland sent £7: 14s. to thirteen sporting
    prophets. Four of these sent him 35 losers and 1 winner.—_Vide_
    p. 186 of Report.



    Anti-gambling Crusaders, A Hint to the Clergy, and. W. H.

    Anti-gambling League, Bulletin of the National. England.

    Backing, Certain Systems of. Sefton.

    Backing Horses, A Practicable System of. Brandon.

    Betting. G. Poste.

    Betting Club, Doncaster. W. Sheardown.

    Betting, The Law relating to. G. H. Stutfield.

    Betting and Gaming Houses, The Law affecting. L. Duckworth.

    Betting, A Talk with Young Men on. A. Rowland.

    Betting, Systematic. Its Use and Abuse. H.

    Betting, New System of. Metallic.

    Betting and Gambling. Student.

    Betting and Gambling. J. M. Hogge.

    Betting and Gambling. S. Churchill.

    Betting, Gambling, and the Bible. A. T. Barnett.

    Betting, Handbook of. Mathematician.

    Betting, Tattersall’s Rules on. G. H. Stutfield.

    Blot on the Queen’s Reign. J. Hawke.

    Calculator, Jonathan’s.

    Card-Sharping Exposed. J. E. Robert-Houdin.

    Card-Trick Exposed, The Three.

    Chance and Luck. R. A. Proctor.

    Devil’s Picture Books. Van Rensselaer.

    Form, The New Book of. E. Chilton.

    Gambling, History of, in England. J. Ashton.

    Gambling World, Anecdotes, Memories, and Stories. “Rouge et

    Gambling and Betting. H. H. Chamberlain.

    Gambling Sinful? Is. H. J. Tebbutt.

    Gambling. E. C. Chorley.

    Gambling, Is it Wrong? J. M. Lambert.

    Gambling, A Talk on. A. Rowland.

    Gambling. W. J. S. Smith.

    Gambling, Ethics of. W. D. Mackenzie.

    Gambling, The Law of. W. Coleridge and C. V. Hawksforth.

    Gambling Communities. A. Hepner.

    Gambling Games of the Chinese in America. S. Culin.

    Games of Chance Unlawful. W. Symington.

    Game, The Great. A Treatise on the Turf. E. Spence.

    Gaming-Tables, Monaco and its.

    Horses to Follow. On the Alert: or Best. J. A. Peddie.

    Horse Racing in England. R. Black.

    Horse Sense: or How to Select the Winners. F. Morgan.

    Horses, Best to Back. J. A. Peddie.

    Monte Carlo and Public Opinion.

    Monte Carlo, A Voice from the English Church at. W. Wight.

    Monte Carlo, Facts about. By a Group of Shareholders.

    Races, Way to Win Money on.

    Racing Skill Competitions, Grosvenor Manual for Systematically
    Working. T. J. Evanson.

    Racing for Riches, or Money-making on the Turf. H. Bissell.

    Racing for Gold. J. Peddie.

    Racing Explained, Flat. Analyst.

    Racing and the Winners, Horse. “Long Odds.”

    Racing Tipsters, Modern. Facts, Criticisms, and Exposures. H.

    Racing. Cost of the Sport. F. G. Aflalo.

    Racing Vade-mecum. Systems to Govern Turf Investments. Sphinx.

    Revelations! Revelations! How the Public are Gulled by Tipsters.

    Speculation and Gambling. J. W. Diggle.

    Sporting Library, “The Druid.” H. H. Dixon.

    Turf. New System. Chilton.

    Turf. The Secure System of Operations.

    Turf Ready Reckoner. Morden.

    Turf, Secret of Making Money on the.

    Turf. Guide to Investment J. D. Gerrard.

    Turf, Analogy between Stock Exchange and. M. H.

    Turf Lexicon. Silberer.

    Turf, Mirror of the. L. H. Curzon.

    Turf Facts and Wrinkles. Petrarch.

    Turf, Success on the. Scrutineer.

    Turf, How to Win on the. R. G. Bradley.

    Turf, The. A. E. T. Watson.

    Winning Post, The Way to. A. Gate.



    Gambling. W. B. Curtis. Fortnightly Review.

    Gambling. Rev. H. Price Hughes. Sunday Magazine.

    Gambling. H. Woodcock. Primitive Methodist Quarterly Review.

    Gambling, a Symposium. Young Man.

    A Glance at the History of Gambling. E. Bowen-Rowlands.
    Westminster Review.

    Curiosities of Gaming. Cornhill.

    The Gambler. An Apology. Paternoster Review.

    The Ethics of Gambling. W. Douglas Mackenzie. Contemporary

    Systems of Gambling. Sir J. F. Stephen. Nineteenth Century.

    Gambling in High Life. Gen. A. Badeau. Cosmopolitan.

    A Night at Monte Carlo. Rev. W. J. Dawson. Young Man.

    Gambling Sharps and their Tools. C. Bissell. Cosmopolitan.

    Card-Sharping in Paris. Edw. Delille. Fortnightly Review.

    The Prince of Wales and the Baccarat Case. Review of Reviews.


    The Ethics of Gambling. J. Oliphant. Westminster Review.

    Why is Gambling Wrong? Venerable Archdeacon Sinclair. Young Man.

    A Crusade against Betting and Gambling. Help.

    Lotteries. E. E. Hales. Cosmopolitan.

    Lotteries and Gambling. A. Comstock. North American Review.

    Suppression of Lotteries by Taxation. H. White. Fortnightly

    Why is Pool Gambling Allowed? A. Comstock. Belford’s Monthly
    and Democratic Review.

    Monte Carlo (One Hell the Less). Modern Review.

    Gambling and Cheating in Ancient Rome. R. Lanciani. North
    American Review.


    Gambling in its Relation to the Public Welfare. Rev. J. W.
    Riddle. American Journal of Politics.

    Pool-rooms and Pool-selling. North American Review.

    Monte Carlo. H. C. Farnham. Cosmopolitan.

    The Watchdogs of Our Lady Roulette. C. Whyte-Hall. Modern

    Our Sporting Zadkiels. Rev. J. W. Horsley. Westminster Review.


    About Gambling Systems. Chambers’ Journal.

    Science and Monte Carlo. Prof. Karl Pearson. Fortnightly Review.

    Principles and Progress of the Anti-Gambling League. J. Hawke.
    New Review.

    Women and Gambling. Mrs. Aubrey Richardson. Help.

    The Betting Craze. George Mortimer. Fortnightly Review.

    Introduction to the Discussion on the Blacking Out of Sporting
    News in the Free Libraries. R. K. Dent. Librarian.

    Chinese Gambling. H. R. Cutter. Californian Illustrated

    Tendencies of the Turf. C. H. Crandall. North American Review.


    Betting and Gambling. W. J. K. Westminster Review.

    What is Gambling? John Bigelow. Harper’s Magazine.

    A Danger of Modern England. Rev. H. Price Hughes. Great

    Gambling. Dr. H. A. Stimson. Homiletic Review.

    Behind the Scenes at Monte Carlo. John J. Waller. Pall Mall

    A Vision at Monte Carlo. C. E. Tyrer. Manchester Quarterly.

    Suppression of Lottery and other Gambling in America. Dr.
    Newman Smyth. Fortnightly Review.

    Gambling and Speculation in America. Symposium. Arena.

    Rain Gambling in Calcutta. Chambers’ Journal.


    Betting. Norwood. Badminton.

    Betting and Gambling Men. Chambers’ Journal.

    The Gambling Curse, and how to Destroy It. Symposium. Temple

    Monte Carlo, the Great Gambling Palace. Sir George Newnes.
    Strand Magazine.

    Gambling in America. J. Brand. Pearson’s Magazine


    Ethics of Gambling. Rev. and Hon. E. Lyttelton. Economic Review.

    Reply to “Ethics of Gambling.” Independent Review.

    Why are Betting and Gambling Wrong? Rev. Arthur T. Barnett.
    Economic Review.

    On Betting. Prof. Marcus Dods. Good Words.

    Gambling at Monte Carlo. Lady’s Realm.

    The Latter-day Wager. Badminton Magazine.


    Gambling as it Was and Is. Lawrence Irwell. New Century Review.

    Lotteries, Luck, and Chance. J. Holt Schooling. Pall Mall

    Betting Symposium. Leisure Hour.

    The Gambling Question. A Puritan Crusade. F. A. Mackenzie.

    Ocean Gambling. Chambers’ Journal.

    Paying an Election Bet. Strand Magazine.

    Ethics of Horse Racing. Lieut.-Col. R. F. Meysey-Thompson.
    National Review.


    Lotteries, Luck, and Chance. J. Holt Schooling. Pall Mall

    Speculation and Gambling. Archdeacon Diggle. Help.

    Gambling and Aids to Gambling. C. E. Russell and E. T.
    Champagne. Economic Review.


    Investment, Trade, and Gambling. Monthly Review.

    The Gambling Habits of Society Women. Woman at Home.

    Gambling on Board Ship. Nautical Magazine.

    The Gambling Hells of Paris. Crampton’s Magazine.

    Licensed Gambling in Belgium. Geo. F. Babbitt. Fortnightly

    The Great Lottery Campaign in Louisiana. Reed Carradine.
    Munsey’s Magazine.


    A Terrible Danger. F. M. Holmes. Quiver.

    Evils of Betting. Rev. J. W. Horsley. Sunday Strand.

    Betting Evil. John Hawke. Great Thoughts.

    The Gambling Impulse. C. J. France. American Journal of

    Money Lost by Gambling. W. Greenwood. Sunday Strand.

    The Results of Play at Monte Carlo. Rev. R. P. Downes. Great

    The Wheel of Fortune, and how French State Lotteries are
    Worked. E. Charles. Wide Wide World Magazine.

    The Gospel on the Race course. A. Wallace Myers. Quiver.


    River Gamblers of Old Steamboat Days. George Ogden. Everybody’s

    The Totalisator in New Zealand. Sir Robert Stout. Australian
    Review of Reviews.

    Can a Modern Man of Business be a Saint? F. Ballard. Young Man.

    Race-course Swindles. W. J. Wintle. Harmsworth’s Magazine.

    Betting and Gambling. W. R. Sorley. International Journal of

    The Maëlstrom of the Betting Ring. J. F. Marsten. Munsey’s

    The Tipster and the Trade. Lieut.-Col. D. C. Peddie. Monthly


    Starters and Starting. A Starter. Badminton.

    Behind the Scenes at Monte Carlo. C. N. and A. M. Williamson.
    Pearson’s Magazine.

    Racegoers and Racegoing. A Racegoer. Badminton.

    Tipsters and Tipping. A Tipster. Badminton.

    Gambling in Futures, Options, and Warrants. Wm. Field. Magazine
    of Commerce.

    Is Bridge Immoral? Lady’s Realm.


[1] W. D. Mackenzie, _The Ethics of Gambling_, p. 64.

[2] The gambling habits of the rich who do not know how to “fill in
their time” also arise from _ennui_, but in this paper I do not discuss
the problem which they present. It is: How can we compel them to find
occupations of social value?

[3] Cf. _Nineteenth Century_, January 1903, art. “Is Society worse than
it was?”

[4] Recent London balls in aid of hospital funds, for instance, where the
sufferings of the poor were sought to be alleviated by orgies of the rich.

[5] _Early History of Charles James Fox_, pp. 100-1.

[6] Cf. Martineau’s _History of England_, 1800-1815, p. 196 (Bohn’s

[7] _Mental and Moral Science_, p. 229.

[8] A somewhat dangerous extension of the powers of an
intelligence-carrying agency, and one which should not be made if it can
be avoided.

[9] Cf. Krapotkine’s _Factories, Fields, and Workshops_; and H. Rider
Haggard’s _Rural England_.

[10] Cf. Rowntree and Sherwell’s _The Temperance Problem and Social
Reform_, especially pp. 560-587.

[11] _Vide_ Appendix.

[12] London: S.P.C.K., Northumberland Avenue, W.C.

[13] The writer is aware that to provide adequate counter-attractions
would entail a very heavy expenditure. It has been estimated that, to
provide adequate counter-attractions to public-houses would require
annually £1000 for every 10,000 of the population, a sum which cannot
be raised by private subscription. A scheme of Constructive Temperance
Reform has been before the country for some time, under which the
public-house trade would be taken out of private hands, and the profits
given to the National Exchequer to be used for certain specified
purposes. The first charge throughout the country would, however, be
the provision of adequate counter-attractions to the public-house. In
so far as the profits of the public-house trade are probably not less
than £20,000,000 per annum, and since, upon the estimate given above,
£4,000,000 would furnish the sum required for counter-attractions, it
will be seen that under this scheme there would be no difficulty as to

[14] 1900.

[15] See conviction for Betting Coupon Competitions (E. Hulton and Co.,
Ltd.) in Manchester, November 1901.

[16] The paper selected to show the value of sporting tips is the
_Morning Advertiser_, an organ of the liquor trade which devotes much
attention to sport.


    Advertising Act (1874), 211

    Albert Club, case against, 143

    Allen (Russell), _Manchester Evening News_, evidence before Lords’
      Commission, 208

    Allotments, a counter-attraction to public-houses, 184

    Alverstone (Lord Chief-Justice), on betting and gambling, 215

    Anti-gambling League, National, recommendations made by, 205

    Anti-social desires, gambling induces, 13

    Art Unions, 139

    Ascot Heath, betting shed, 21

    Athletic grounds, betting at, 197

    Australian licensed bookmakers, 193

    Automatic machines, gambling by, 137

    Averages, law of, 103

    Bain (J.), evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 210

    Bank Act, 1867, restrains speculation in bank shares, 147
      proposed extension of restriction to all stocks and shares, 159

    Bank of England and National Debt, 46

    Bankruptcy, betting a cause of, 90

    Bath, Recorder of (Mr. H. C. Folkard), on effects of gambling, 216

    Battenberg, Prince Louis of, on effects of gambling, 216

    Bazaar raffles illegal, but not subjected to prosecution, 139

    Beaconsfield (Lord), on the turf, 168

    Bell, M.P. (Richard), on gambling, 217

    Bennett (Curtis), on street betting, 214

    Beresford (Lord Charles), on gambling, 38, 215

    Beston, exposed by _Truth_, 225

    Betting-house Act (1853), 24, 199
      amendments suggested by Lords’ Commission, 196
      amendments proposed to, 156
      coupon gambling outside the meaning of the Act, 140
      effect of, 191
      new decision _re_, 140

    Betting-houses abroad evade the Act, 142

    Betting Act (1874), 199, 202
      Lords’ suggested amendments to, 196

    Betting and Loans (Infants’) Act (1892), 197
      Lords’ suggested amendments to, 201

    Betting at athletic grounds, 197

    Betting, legislation against, 148
      proposed Bill, 156

    Betting statistics, 232

    Bill, proposed street betting, 156

    Bill, to make bets in public-houses illegal, 157

    Birmingham, Official Receiver, on street betting, 214

    Bookmakers, appeal against bye-laws, 205
      army of, 28
      street, 195
      suppression of, would extinguish betting, 204
      turnover of, 28

    Bradford School Board, resolution on betting, 214

    Bridge-playing, 40

    Brighton, scene on the race-course, 32

    Bros (Mr.), London Stipendiary Magistrate, embezzlement caused by
      gambling, 214

    Bucknill (Justice), on betting and gambling, 217

    “Bulling and Bearing” on the Stock Exchange, 59

    Butcher, M.P. (J. G.), on gambling, 216

    Bye-laws against betting, Municipal and County, 154

    Campbell-Bannerman (Sir Henry), on gambling, 218

    Card-playing, 136

    Cards, gambling with, 40

    Cash-betting stopped, 25

    Certainties, betting on, 2

    Chances all for the bank, 3

    Chester Cup Race (1852), 25

    Children betting, 203

    Chisholm (Lord Provost of Glasgow), evidence before the Lords’
      Commission, 209

    Citizenship, gambling and, 116

    Civil Service, gambling in, 37

    Clubs, gambling, 143, 163

    Commons, House of, Select Committee on Betting and Gambling (1844), 23

    Coroner for Mid-Surrey and backing horses, 214

    Cost of Stock Exchange dealing, 66

    Cottage, a week’s betting transactions in a working man’s, 80

    Counter-attractions from gambling, 183

    County authorities, bye-laws of, 154

    Coupon-gambling, 140, 162

    Crime and gambling (Canon Horsley), 85

    Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act (1887), 202

    Croydon Bench, chairman of, _re_ gambling, 215

    _Daily Mail_, racing tips, 106

    _Daily News_, week’s betting results, 180

    Daily settlement of bets, 23

    Darling (Mr. Justice), _re_ betting, 213

    Davey’s Street Betting Bill 1903, Lord, 199

    _Davis_ v. _Stoddart_, deposit of money for betting illegal, 153

    Dealings before allotment forbidden 56

    Devonshire, Duke of, _re_ betting, 166
      Evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 211

    Doncaster Grand Stand, 21

    _Downes_ v. _Johnson_, Gambling Club Case, 143

    Durham Lord, on tipsters, 222

    Education, more adequate, to counteract gambling tendency, 185

    Embezzlement due to betting, 30, 88

    Epsom, 22

    _Field, The_, strictures on racing, 32

    _Fielding_ v. _Turner_, decision _re_ gambling by machines, 138

    Fines for betting, recommendation by Lords’ Commission, 195

    “Fish-ponds” illegal lotteries, 139

    Flat-racing and tipsters, 225

    Fludyer, Colonel, evidence of, 206

    Fox’s gambling habits, 125

    France, Government of, and press gambling, 143

      definition, 1
      by automatic machines, 137
      clubs, 143, 163
      clubs and the Licensing Act (1903), 144
      coupon, 140, 162
      organised Sunday, 147
      pure and mixed, 1
      repression of, 170

    Gaming, industrial, 159
      machines, 137, 160

    Giffen, Sir Robert, estimate of bookmaker’s profits, 31

    Gissing, George, description of Turf ruffianism, 34

    Glasgow, betting in workshops, 29
      Chief Constable’s evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 209
      Lord Provost’s evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 209

    Globe and Liberation Companies, 18

    Goodwood, 22

    Gould, J.P. (Chas.), Epsom, evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 208

    Grantham, Mr., Justice, on gambling, 213

    Halsbury, Lord Chancellor, _Powell_ v. _Kempton Park_, 150

    Harrow, Master of, evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 207

    Hawke, John, evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 203
      on gambling, 218

    Hawkins, Mr. Justice, on betting, 213
      decision in _Hawke_ v. _Dunn_, 149

    Hawkins, Mr. Justice, decision in _Jenks_ v. _Turpin_, 164

    Hereford, Bishop of, betting among women, 71

    Herschell’s Act, Lord, 197

    Hodgman, George, _Sixty years on the Turf_, 35

    Holland, Admiral Swinton, gambling at sports, 216

    Hope, Adrian, and the anti-gambling league, 161

    Horsley, Rev. J. W., evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 212
      on tipsters, 234

    House-to-house betting, 72

    Hulton, junr., Edward, evidence before the Lords’ Committee, 210

    Hunter, Sir Robert, evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 211

    Illegal games, 136, 159

    Immorality of gambling, 9

    Increase of betting, present, 26

    Industrial gaming unconnected with trade, 159

    “Jail, Jottings from,” 84

    Japan, gamblers ostracised, 43

    _Jenks_ v. _Turpin_, 164

    Jockey Club and betting, 115
      cash betting, 26
      and tipsters, 223
      _Powell_ v. _Kempton Park_, 157

    Joint Stock Company Law Amendment, is ineffective, 64

    Kingsley, Charles, letter to young men on betting and gambling, 179

    Knight, J.P. (Robert), evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 211
      women betting, 72

    Lamb, Charles, 11

    Lamb, Mr., Second Secretary Post Office, evidence before the Lords’
      Commission, 210

    Lambeth, workshop betting in, 29

    Law of gambling, 135

    Law relating to betting, 135

    Law, suggested amendments in betting, 155

    Leeman’s Act (1866) stops speculation in bank shares, 62

    Lefroy, Dean, on Bridge, 80

    Legislation as to gambling, existing, 135

    _Lennox_ v. _Stoddart_, deposit of money for betting illegal, 153

    Liberator and Globe Companies, 18

    Licence for bookmakers, 111

    Licensed bookmakers in Australia, 193, 194

    Licensing Act (1903), 144
      and gambling, 204

    Limited Liability Act (1862) increases stock gambling, 50

    Liverpool, Bishop of (Dr. Chavasse), on betting, 215

    London, Common Serjeant of, on betting, 217

    Lords, House of, Report of Committee (1844), 27
      Select Committee of (1901-2), Report, 28, 38
        summary of, 203
        betting among artisans, 155
        press and betting, 166
        recommendations of, 191
        women gamblers, 69

    Loria and elections, 127

    Lotteries abolished, public, 138
      and sweepstakes, 138, 161
      newspaper, protected by 8 & 9 Vict. c. 74; 140
      put down by Parliament, 63

    Lowther, M.P., James; evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 209

    Luck in gambling, 8

    Luton Town Councillors and betting, 215

    Machines, gaming, 137

    Maclaren, Ian, on Bridge, 81

    Magistrates, a Chairman of, on embezzlement and betting, 214

    Manchester, Chief Constable, evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 206

    Marginal groups, gambling prevails among people classed in, 118

    Miscellaneous gambling, 23

    Monte Carlo tables average daily profit, £500, 181

    Moseley Commission, 155

    Municipal bye-laws against betting, 154

    National Debt, stockbroking begins with, 46

    Newmarket betting-posts, 22

    Newspaper lotteries protected by 8 and 9 Vict. c. 74; 140

    Newspapers encourage small betting, 113

    Odds against the backer, 104

    One pound shares and Stock Exchange gambling, 51

    “Options,” 56

    “Pari Mutuel,” 193, 194

    Pauperism, betting next to intemperance a cause of, 91

    Pedestrianism, a note on, 219

    _Petit Parisien_, competition forbidden in, 142

    Philip of Macedon and gambling, 124

    Play a factor in life, 11

    Police abet gambling in clubs, 145

    Portland, Duke of, about tipsters, 135

    Postmaster-General, powers _re_ betting circulars, 197

    Post Office, monetary interest in betting of the, 31
      powers over lottery matter, 141
      proposed increase of powers, 161

    _Powell_ v. _Kempton Park_, 149, 154

    Press competitions and coupon gambling, 140, 142, 143, 162
      gives facilities for betting, 191

    _Prisons and Provinces_, 84

    Produce Exchange gambling, 41

    Prohibitive Acts insufficient to prevent gambling, 130

    Property, right of, 4

    Public excluded from betting circles, the general, 22

    Public-houses, proposed Bill to make betting in, illegal, 157

    Public opinion, the necessity for creating a sound, 174

    Pure gambling, 16

    Race-horses, poisoning of, 210

    Raffles, Government inaction in the matter of, 176
      really illegal, 139

    Rawson, Admiral, on gambling, 38, 216

    Remedy, bookmaker’s suggestions for a remedy, 110

    Renals, Alderman Sir J., on street betting, 215

    Repression of gambling, 170

    Richmond, the Duke of, on cash betting, 26

    Ridley, Mr. Justice, on betting, 217

    Roulette, 137

    Russell, Chief-Justice, on street betting, 213

    Rutzen, Sir Alfred de, evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 90, 206

    Salford, embezzlements in, 20

    Schools and betting, 214, 215

    Scotland Yard, conviction of three inspectors of, 85

    Secret gambling in modern commerce, 19

    Shannon, Superintendent Metropolitan Police, evidence before the Lords’
      Commission, 208

    Sharp, Luke, on women betting, 71
      evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 207

    Signalmen as bookmakers, 36

    _Sixty Years on the Turf_, by George Hodgman, 35

    “Small man” in stock and share gambling, 52

    Smith, Horace, evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 207
      embezzlement caused by betting, 213

    Social disease, gambling a, 119

    Souch, Charles, gambling at athletic clubs, 219

    Southampton, Church Congress on betting, 214

    Sport, betting in connection with, 39

    _Sportsman_ prosecuted, 141, 156

    _Sportsman, The Deluded_, by a Bookmaker, 92

    Spruce, F. W., evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 207

    Starting-price bookmaker, 112

    Starting-price odds, 166, 192, 204

    Stephen, Sir Fitzjames, on betting agents, 205

    Stephenson, Sir W. H., gambling among boys, 147

    Stock Exchange gambling, 41, 45, 147, 158

    _Stoddart_ v. _Sagar_, Decision _re_ coupon gambling, 140

    Street betting, 203

    Street betting, “a respectable trade,” 208

    Street Betting Bill (Lord Davey’s), 199

    Street bookmakers, 195

    “Street” defined as in Public Health Act (1875), 201

    Stutfield, G. H., evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 203

    Suicide resulting from gambling, 86

    Supports of gambling, real, 12

    Sutters, James, evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 207

    Sutton, Alderman (Newcastle), on betting, 214

    Sweepstakes, 138, 161

    “Systems” in gambling, 8, 224

    Tattersall’s Subscription Rooms established, 21

    Thomas, Bryan, evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 209

    Tipsters’ advertisements, suppression of, 114, 222
      and the Jockey Club, 223

    “Totalisator,” its introduction suggested, 193, 194

    Trevelyan, Lady, on Bridge, 41

    Trevelyan, Sir George, gambling as it affects politics, 125

    _Truth_ on turf tipsters, betting agents, and system-mongers, 224

    “Vendors’ shares,” their part in share gambling, 58

    Village betting, 31

    Wages to working men, better; a counter influence to gambling, 185

    Walker, Colonel Tannett evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 210

    Watts, G. F., on betting and gambling, 218

    Wavell, General, on gambling, 38, 214

    Wells, Superintendent of Limehouse Division, evidence before the Lords’
      Commission, 208

    White, Sir George, on gambling, 38, 218

    Wills, Mr. Justice, on illegitimate speculation, 213

    Women bookmakers, 70, 218

    Women, gambling among, 69, 203
      worse gamblers than men, 73

    Woodgate, W. B., evidence before the Lords’ Commission, 210

    Workshops, betting in Glasgow, 29

    York, Archbishop of, on gambling, 217

_Printed by R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, Edinburgh._

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